The only permanent restorative dental solution, dental implants look, feel, and function like real teeth. Each implant consists of a crown and titanium screw held together by an abutment and requires care to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Whether you are preparing for your procedure or recently completed the implant process, use these tips to take care of your replacement teeth.
How to Take Care of Your Dental Implants
1. Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush & Nonabrasive Toothpaste
Gently brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled implement that won’t scratch your implants or contribute to gum recession. Consider using a nylon interdental brush to clean the crevices around the implants and natural teeth.
Use nonabrasive toothpaste to avoid damage and gum irritation. Daily cleaning also prevents implant and tooth staining. If possible, you should brush your teeth after every meal and after drinking dark coffee or tea.
2. Floss Every Day
Floss daily using regular filament or alternatives such as oral irrigators and water flossers to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing keeps the gum tissue around your implants free of excess bacteria to help it heal quickly. Using a water flosser is gentler on your implants and can prevent bleeding and irritation.
3. Avoid Tobacco & Alcohol
Refrain from gum irritants such as cigarettes and alcohol that delay the healing process. Smoking impedes blood circulation in the gums to prevent efficient healing, while alcohol increases the risk of gum tissue irritation and disease by interfering with saliva production.
Lack of saliva causes dry mouth, a condition that increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease because bacteria, acids, and plaque are not flushed from the mouth regularly. In addition to avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, drink more water to maintain adequate saliva levels.
4. Work With a Gum Stimulator
Use a rubber gum stimulator to massage the tissue and increase the amount of oxygen and blood it receives as it heals. Gum stimulators help the tissues remain pink and healthy instead of red, inflamed, and vulnerable to bleeding.
5. Refrain From Consuming Hard & Sticky Foods
Avoid eating sticky foods such as dried fruit and caramel candies, as well as hard and crunchy foods like nuts, uncooked vegetables, and popcorn. These foods can damage your dental implants, especially during the healing period.
Opt for healthy soft foods instead, such as yogurt, soft fruits, cooked vegetables, and quinoa. Do not chew ice either since it can damage your implants and your natural teeth.
Make appointments with Eric J. Hartzell, DMD, at least twice a year to keep your dental implants and remaining teeth healthy. The family dentist has provided a comprehensive range of general, cosmetic, pediatric, and restorative dentistry services to residents throughout High Point and Greensboro, NC, since 1994. Call (336) 886-8776 today to schedule an exam or visit the dentist online for practice information.