Caring for Dental Implants in 5 Easy Steps
More than 5 million dental implants are placed every year, and more than 95 percent of them are a success. When implants are placed by an experienced oral surgeon, the success rate jumps to 98 percent.
Maintaining proper oral hygiene habits is crucial to ensuring a successful recovery. Fortunately, taking care of dental implants isn’t complicated or time-consuming.
Step No. 1: Brush Your Teeth
You (hopefully) already brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, using a soft-bristled or sonic toothbrush. Keep doing what you’re doing, because daily brushing keeps your dental implants clean.
If you have difficulty reaching between the natural teeth and the implants, try using an interdental brush with smaller bristles.
Step No. 2: Floss Between Your Teeth
Do you floss at least once per day? Many people forgo this important oral hygiene habit. After implant surgery, flossing is essential for preserving your restoration.
Dental implants can’t get cavities, but the surrounding gums are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Daily flossing helps prevent the onset of this damaging condition. Any waxed or unwaxed dental floss works, though many implant patients prefer hand-held flossers or water flossers.
Step No. 3: Use a Mouth Rinse
If you don’t already use a mouth rinse, you may want to start soon after your implant surgery. Mouthwashes reach places no toothbrush or flosser can easily reach.
Therapeutic mouthwashes have active ingredients that can help keep the gums and mouth healthy. Daily use can control or reduce oral health conditions like gingivitis and decay in the natural teeth. Your oral surgeon can recommend a nonabrasive, antimicrobial mouth rinse that is safe for use with dental implants.
Step No. 4: Wear a Bite Guard
Do you grind or clench your teeth at night? Bruxism can stress dental implants and increase the risk of implant failure.
To prevent this, oral surgeons typically recommend that patients with bruxism wear custom-made splints or bite guards over the top or bottom teeth. Wearing a protective appliance spreads the grinding pressure over the entire dental arch, giving the implants a better chance of success.
Step No. 5: Have Regular Examinations and Cleanings
No matter how diligent your at-home oral health care routine may be, you need to keep regular appointments with your oral surgeon. Checkups after implant surgery should be scheduled every three to six months.
Frequent professional attention is key to catching implant problems early. Inflammatory diseases like peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis don’t always have obvious symptoms, but they can be damaging to your oral health. Without proper treatment, you could suffer tissue and bone loss or implant failure.
Regular professional cleanings are just as important as oral surgeon examinations. Hygienists have tools and techniques to remove the bacteria, plaque and tartar hidden in the crevices between your natural teeth and your implants.
As specialists in implant surgery, the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can answer all your questions. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule a consultation for dental implants.
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