Tips on Taking Care of Dental Implants

Have you recently had a dental implant placed to replace missing teeth? While dental implants are the most natural replacement option and generally stronger than teeth, there are some cautions you should take for long-term care.

Eating and Drinking

 One of the major benefits of dental implants is that they are strong and resilient enough for everyday foods and beverages; however, you should avoid opening containers with your teeth and be mindful of how you chew crunchy foods.

Since dental implants have a metal screw that holds them securely in place you shouldn’t drink very hot beverages because metal retains heat and can burn a layer of cells around the screw. So if you can’t touch the surface of the hot beverage, you should wait for it to cool before drinking it.

The crown of the dental implant is covered with porcelain which makes it vulnerable to hot and cold temperatures, especially when hot and cold food and beverages are consumed together. Consuming both hot and cold food and beverages can cause the porcelain to expand and contract which can lead to cracking and ultimately a chipped crown.

Brushing and Flossing

Do not use a vibrating electric toothbrush with dental implants since the vibrations can loosen the internal screw in the implant. Unfortunately, if this happens it is very difficult to correct the loose implant since the crown is cemented over the internal screw. When an implant is loose it will likely have to be replaced which can be costly. It is best to avoid brushing your teeth with a vibrating electronic tooth brush altogether.

Flossing around the dental implant needs to be done delicately and precisely. You could cut the seal around the implant and allow bacteria to access the bone, which can be damaging. It may be recommended that you not floss around the implant if you aren’t sure that you’ll be able to do it without causing damage.

There are other instruments that are designed to clean around dental implants, but these need to be used as delicately and precisely as flossing since improper use can have damaging results. A water pick can be very useful for keeping your implant and surrounding gums clean and healthy. However, a water pick’s forceful spray can have a damaging effect on the implant pocket if it is set to a high setting, so make sure yours is at its lowest setting.

Regular Dental Checkups

You should schedule regular dental checkups about every four to six months. He sure to inform your dental hygienist that you have a dental implant because they will need to care for that differently than your other teeth. In addition to maintaining regular dental checkups you will need to have a professional who knows dental implants check it once a year to make sure there aren’t any problems. This yearly checkup can result in early detection of any problems which hopefully will prevent too much damage.

For more information about dental implant care, please contact our Periodontic office in Columbus, Ohio.