Dental implants are a popular way to maintain a smile after losing teeth due to decay or trauma. Tooth implants require the installation of a titanium bar directly into the bone socket where a former tooth was anchored. Following a multi-week healing process, the implant team reviews progress and installs a connector post to the bar. A new tooth custom designed to fit your bite and match your existing teeth in size and tone is then attached to the connector post. Dental implants can also serve as anchor points for dental fixtures like removable dentures.
After the successful placement of a removable device or permanent tooth, you are responsible for ongoing dental implant treatment to keep your new tooth and the gum tissue around the implant healthy. Consistent care is important for the long-term success of the implant. While dental implants have a very low failure rate according to WebMD, improper care can lead to infections and implant failure over time.
The daily care routine for tooth implants is a lot like standard dental hygiene practices. You should continue to brush and floss at least twice daily. The Apex Surgical Centre for Oral and Facial Surgery recommends using a rotary electric toothbrush and choosing a floss designed to clean around implants.
An added step for some implant patients is a water flosser. This is recommended to further remove debris from the mouth, avoid plaque build-up and limit the opportunity for infection. A water flosser should be used after brushing and standard flossing at least two times per day. When using a water flosser isn't possible, the use of a water syringe to clean around the teeth and implant is recommended.
Optional care includes the regular use of mouthwash without alcohol content to further reduce bacteria.
Maintaining regular dental appointments is key when using dental implants. At routine checkups, your dentist will complete a full assessment of your existing teeth, the implant, the gums, and surrounding bones. A standard cleaning is also provided. Early detection of any problems can help maintain oral health and limit the impact other dental issues could have on the implant. After receiving implants, routine visits can happen every quarter for the first year to ensure good health.
Outside of cleaning, implant care also requires adjusting food intake in the first several weeks following placement. Since tooth implants are mounted, passing on extremely sticky and hard foods avoids dislodging the crowing while skipping seeds, popcorn, and fruits with seeds or piths limits the opportunity for food pieces to get stuck and lead to infection, according to Montgomery Dental Care. After full healing is accomplished, the dentist will clear you to return to a regular diet.
Reach out to a local dentist to learn more about tooth implants.