How to Maintain your Dental Implants

It’s a common question amongst people considering a dental implant. They want an implant because it’s the most lifelike result for a missing tooth but don’t want to add complex maintenance to their daily routine. The good news is dental implants aren’t high maintenance. Some simple care is all it takes for an implant to last a lifetime.

Maintaining your Dental Implant

Follow our tips on dental implant maintenance to keep it looking good and staying healthy.

Good Oral Hygiene

Just as you brush your teeth twice a day, your implant will appreciate the same treatment. Brushing and flossing will stop a build-up of plaque on the implant and surrounding teeth which can cause gingivitis. While brushing and flossing, pay extra attention to the sides of the implant where food and plaque can build up. An interdental brush can help with removing food particles and plaque in places that your toothbrush struggle to reach. A mouthwash can help remove the bacteria around the gum and implant.  

Clean teeth helps keep the gums healthy which is necessary for keeping the implant in place. 

If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease with inflamed gums and the risk of bone loss which can cause your implant to loosen and fail. 

Visit your Dentist

It’s important to see your dentist every six months for a check-up and professional clean to remove any tartar that can’t be shifted with normal brushing. Your dentist will also check for any signs of gingivitis as patients don’t always experience symptoms.

Your dentist will check your implant and give it a professional clean to keep it looking good and help maintain the health of the surrounding gum. 

Speak to your GP

Our oral health is linked to our general health. If you have an autoimmune disease, diabetes or are undergoing treatment for cancer, leukemia or HIV/AIDS, your gum health can suffer. A reduced immune system and some medications that slow saliva production can increase your risk of gum disease. 

When your GP is prescribing you a new medication, it’s a good idea to ask if it’s known to cause any problems with dental implants. Some medications have been linked to dental implant failure.  

Eat a Healthy Diet

It’s important to eat a balanced diet to maintain good health. Make sure you eat plenty of calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, yoghurt and broccoli or take a supplement to maintain good bone health. 

Don’t Smoke

One of fastest ways to destroy your implant is through smoking. You’re not only risking your oral and general health by smoking, you may reduce the lifespan of your implant. No one wants to replace their dental implant earlier than need be. Your implant should last at least 10 years and in many cases a lifetime. 

Tips for Ensuring your Implant Has a Long Life

While maintenance is important to the life of an implant, the beginning of the implant’s life is crucial. 

Choose a Specialist

A prosthodontist is a specialist dentist with an additional three years of full time study compared to a general dentist. Prosthodontists spend much of their day working on implants compared to a dentist who would treat only a small number of cases each year. An inexperienced dentist is more likely to cause trauma to the periodontal tissue during placement of the implant than a specialist. 

Approximately 5-10% of dental implants fail either shortly after placement or much later so it pays to use a specialist to improve your chance of success. 

Improve your General Health

Before placement of your implant, you will want to be as healthy as possible to ensure your wound heals quickly and the implant fuses to the bone. Some healthy steps are to quit smoking, eat a healthy diet and gain control of your blood sugar levels or autoimmune condition. If you’re taking any medications, check with your GP or prosthodontist that they’re suitable. Be sure to give your prosthodontist your full medical history before treatment to reduce any risks. 

If you have any queries about a dental implant, don’t hesitate to ask your prosthodontist.