How to Properly Care for Your Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are more than a second chance to have nice teeth. Simply put, a dental implant is a substitute tooth that imitates the real thing. The titanium “root” inserted into the jawbone gives it a flare, supporting the rest of the implant including the crown, bridge, and the denture itself. The crown is porcelain, which allows the implant to look like a natural tooth.

Dental implants are different from “dentures.” Dental implants can be the full top and bottom sets of teeth but implants are also for just one tooth that is irreparable. Implants help your jawbone stay in line. Where there is no tooth, because of lack of stimulation, the jaw bone in the empty space deteriorates. In the first year of losing a tooth, if no implant is put, the bone region loses 25 percent of its weight, and bone loss continues over the years. A missing tooth gap can cause adjacent teeth to move to the gap in a crooked manner. This will pull your teeth out of place and may affect your grip, chewing capacity, and appearance. It can cause interference which later makes it difficult to replace the tooth. A poor bite can also cause problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and can lead to headaches and pain. Facial sagging can result from missing teeth as an unwanted consequence of bone loss. The lower third of the face begins to collapse here, gradually closing the distance between the nose tip and the chin. Changes can include excess mouth wrinkles, thinning lips, and a more pointed chin, making the person look much older than his true age.

After your dental implants heal, they will slowly start fuse with your jawbone and become seamless with your other teeth.

How to care for your dental implants.

One of the most important things to remember when you get ready for your day and before going to bed is your dental hygiene. You take care of your dental implants in the same way that you take care of real teeth. Brush them twice a day, before your day starts in the morning and after your day is over in the evening. If you want to extend the life of your dental implants, then cleaning them after eating and drinking things other than water would be a good way to do that. You also need to take proper care during the healing process. When your implant is joining with your jawbone it is the perfect time for bacteria and other bad germs to get inside the spaces between the implant, your gums, and your other teeth. If bacteria, food and other molecules were to get stuck anywhere in that area, that could make the entire experience worse for you. It would cause discomfort and could even cause bone loss in your jaw. Negligence will cause a bigger problem than a cavity.

A tiny and soft toothbrush, mechanical and/or manual would be the best tools for cleaning dental implants. You should also use a low or non-abrasive, tartar-control toothpaste to ensure that the dental implants are not scrubbed away or scratched. You should use dental floss to wash the abutments to make sure that the implants last longer. 

Antimicrobial mouthwash and rinse help keep bacteria and plaque from building up inside of your mouth. Finding interdental brushes and other aids to remove plaque buildup between your teeth keep your implants from eroding and eventually chipping away.

Scheduling regular cleanings for your dental implants are also a part of keeping your dental implants healthy. If there is any issue with your dental implants, then you need to inform your dentist as soon as possible. Cleaning implant-supported tooth replacements is just as important as cleaning natural teeth, both types rely on healthy surrounding tissues for support. Bacterial biofilm (plaque) collects on implant crowns just as it does on natural teeth, and must be removed on a daily basis at home. Unlike inflammation around the teeth, this reaction can be quite catastrophic in both rate and quantity, leading to well- or dish-shaped bone loss around the implant affected.

Scheduled Cleanings for Your Dental Implants

Scheduling appointments to see your dental hygienist is the best way to stay ahead of the curve if an infection were to occur. Maintaining the abutment and crown’s highly polished, smooth surface is important. They can attract and harbor bacteria if they are scratched. That is why the instruments used are most often made of plastics and resins, called scalers and curettes. Natural teeth do not scratch the same way, so metal tools can be used to clean them. Nylon or plastic sheaths or tips are available for a number of power (ultrasonic) instruments to minimize implant damage. Your dentist will clean through the use of high-frequency vibration, which may be appropriate when large amounts of debris have accumulated. They are used for cleaning and flushing material in a low-power setting with lots of water irrigation and sometimes antibacterial solutions. If any part of the implant body itself (root replacement portion) is visible, this may mean that gum and/or bone loss has occurred due to infection. The layer of the implant is exposed to the bone after the failure of its fusion. Implant surfaces are usually “roughened” microscopically to increase bone attachment surface area. But this surface roughness makes cleaning and disinfecting implants difficult, if not impossible. Some implants are also screw-shaped and their threads only add to the dilemma of cleaning. Wherever practicable, brushes are used to clean biofilm from an implant’s exposed areas. If calculus or dental cement is present on an implant surface (used to protect the crowns), the hygienist will need to use devices that are successful in removing such contaminants. In such situations, the clinician must ensure that the completion of the procedure does not cause any scratching or harm.