How Do I Care For My Dental Implants?

So, you’ve invested in your new smile and you are ecstatic about the “new you.” However, dental implants are still a new concept to you and you aren’t sure how to care for them. No worries, because dealing with dental implants is just like dealing with natural teeth for the most part.

Bottom line— you may need a few extra tools depending on the type of implants you have. But, care is very easy and quite similar just make sure to make it a habit. Many patients that get dental implants mistakenly think they don’t need regular cleaning. This couldn’t be further from the truth—caring for dental implants is no different just because they are synthetic.

Caring For Dental Implants Basics

Although dental implants will never decay, food particles can still get trapped between the new teeth. Without a consistent oral hygiene routine, those particles can end up causing gum disease which can lead to implant failure.

So, let’s get down to the basics of a good oral hygiene routine and how that plays into caring for dental implants, which should be very familiar to you.

Brushing Is Fundamental

Caring for dental implants is the same care as you’d give your teeth—it begins with brushing. Brushing your dental implants is almost the same as brushing your teeth except for maybe using a softer toothbrush. Find yourself an extra-soft version or even better, get an ultrasonic toothbrush. They do a much better job of breaking up and removing biofilm and particles from your implants. The main objective is to stick with soft bristles instead of firmer ones, they will yield the best results.

For toothpaste, you want the least abrasive variety. DO NOT use pastes with activated charcoal or similar abrasives. Even though the dental implants that patients receive from Dr. Monarres are durable, you don’t want surface scratches. Charcoal particles can scratch the enamel off natural teeth therefore, they could damage implants.

Dental implants that get abrasions or surface damage are more prone to bacteria buildup or staining.  The bottom line, is don’t use any kind of charcoal in your dental care, be it with implants or natural teeth.

Just like with natural teeth you want to come in at a 45° angle upward toward your gum line. Make short passes up and down on one tooth before moving to the next one. Each quadrant of your mouth should receive at least 30 seconds of brushing. Don’t forget chewing surfaces and the backside of your implants.

Flossing With Dental Implants

Although dental implants don’t decay, part of caring for dental implants still includes flossing. It needs to be a major part of your dental implant care routine. Flossing is one of the most overlooked parts of oral care whether natural teeth or dental implants.

Flossing helps loosen particles of food that get lodged between implants and teeth. Those particles can easily resist a good brushing as they can be difficult to remove. However, flossing gets deep in the crevices and dislodges those stubborn particles easily.

Traditional floss usually is made from a thin, wax-covered string that you hold with two hands stretched tautly. There are also floss holders as well as flossing “picks” that have the floss already pulled tight for you. However, you go about it, just make sure you’re thorough, making sure to go between each implant and tooth. What you’re trying to accomplish with flossing is not only to clean the gaps where teeth touch but also just along the gumlines. Those pockets are where most gunk tends to get trapped and can lead to gingivitis, gum disease, and implant failure.

Don’t worry, flossing won’t accidentally pull out an implant. However, NOT flossing can be very detrimental to your valuable investment. If you are uncomfortable with string floss, there is another way to floss.

Water Flossers

If you find traditional floss too tedious or difficult, a water flosser might be your avenue. They’re a little messy when you first learn them, but you adjust quickly. They use light bursts of pressurized water and do a fantastic job in half the time. In our opinion, these devices are the next best thing to having our Stone Ridge hygienists use the ultrasonic water flosser in the office.

Either way you go flossing greatly reduces the chances of peri-implantitis.

What is Peri-Implantitis?

Peri-implantitis is the equivalent of gum disease regarding dental implants. Without proper prevention and treatment, this condition can lead to total implant failure. At the very least, it causes inflammation of the gums and peri-implantitis is the leading reason why some dental implants fail. Dental implants seldom just fail randomly, it’s normally a result of failure to properly care for them.

The symptoms are the same as gum disease— red, swollen gum tissue, and very tender. Eventually, you’ll see blood when brushing or flossing. There will also be significant visible tartar and plaque buildup. The good news is if you deal with it at the first onset of symptoms such as gum irritation—it can be reversed with routine cleaning.

Professional Cleaning For Dental Implants

Just like you visit your dentist for regular cleanings of your natural teeth, that should be the same for dental implants. Preventative cleanings and checkups should be scheduled at least twice a year or more depending on your situation.

It doesn’t matter how many dental implants you have. Whether it’s a single crown or a complete All on Four restoration—professional cleanings are crucial for optimal longevity. Aside from preventing peri-implantitis it also can help clean up any staining.

Our highly skilled team uses special dental tools not available outside of a dental office. This allows us to give your implants and surrounding teeth a deep clean. This not only keeps the implants clean and bright but also is therapeutic for surrounding gum tissue.

If you’re following your home hygiene routine and visiting us for routine cleanings, you can rest assured you’re smile is healthy.

Why Are Checkups Important If Implants Don’t Decay?

This is a question we get often when we reach out to patients to schedule regular checkups not just cleanings. Yes, it is true that implants don’t decay and will last a lifetime, but only with a concerted effort of personal and professional care. Checkups are critical because it allows Dr. Nahlah to see any problems that may be developing. Catching issues early is the best way to mitigate damage from minor developments. These small developments if taken care of right away can avoid turning into a much bigger problem with possibly irreversible consequences.

Also in these checkups, we’ll be able to find out what you are doing to care for your implants and what improvements could be made. We want you to protect your investment so that it can indeed last you a lifetime.

So the takeaway is that while dental implants are designed for a lifetime of use, they still require care. The same level of care you would give your natural teeth with the added advantage that they won’t decay.

So, by maintaining your regular checkups, and cleanings, and following Dr. Monarres’ advice, you’ll do yourself a favor. Not only that but you’ll do your wallet a favor as well. If implants fail, the usual recourse is starting over from scratch. No one has ever denied that dental implants are a significant upfront investment. But why ignore proper care and cost yourself that investment twice? Simply act like you still have natural teeth and care for them accordingly and you should be fine.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure any day!

Considering Dental Implants From Dr. Monarres?

Have you been considering dental implants but are not sure if they’re right for your situation? Let us say this loud for the people in the back—in most cases THEY ARE. Dental implants are rarely not an option for any patient that needs them.

While some rare medical conditions might make them unsuitable, most patients are great candidates.  The only way to find out for sure is to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Monarres. Contact us today to schedule!  


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