For many people who have dental issues, various dental implants like crowns, bridges and veneers are some of the most popular solutions. These implants allow for proper oral hygiene despite tooth or gum issues, but they can only provide optimal benefits if they’re cared for properly.
At Bright Side Dental & Orthodontics, we’re proud to provide numerous dental implants and related options, from dental crowns and veneers to bridges, prosthodontics and even dentures for those who may require them. In addition, we provide all our patients who require these implants with proper instructions for caring for them over time — and these instructions tend to include a few similar concepts. Here is a primer on several themes to keep in mind.
Broadly speaking, your main goal with dental implants — just like with your natural teeth, we should note — is to keep them clean and free of plaque and tartar buildup. This means brushing them daily with a toothpaste that’s not too harsh (ideally, we recommend a fluoridated and non-abrasive variety), and making sure to floss around them at least every other day.
Dirty dental implants will function exactly the same as dirty teeth: They’ll become more prone to decay, infection and damage over time. So make sure to keep your implants clean through proper brushing and flossing!
While performing these forms of care for your dental implants, it’s important to stay gentle and understand that these implants are, in fact, synthetically made. They’ll function like normal teeth over time, but they’re still not natural and can break down if mistreated.
Consequently, it’s important to not use any excessive force when brushing your implants or cleaning them with floss. You should go slowly and carefully, ensuring that you’re doing all you can to protect the life of the implants. If you have any questions about this, or other care factors related to your dental health, give our office a call.
Consider a Mouthguard
If you’re participating in any kind of sport or activity where contact is possible, we strongly recommend wearing a mouthguard — again, this is both for your natural teeth and your dental implants. The mouthguard will help protect your teeth enamel, implants and natural teeth alike from breaking, chipping or other damage.
In addition, those who know they’re prone to grinding their teeth should consider a dental mouthguard for sleeping. Excessive grinding can lead to issues with dental implants, as well as damage to the natural teeth, but a mouthguard stops this from occurring.
Especially for those whose implants are newer, we generally recommend staying away from food and drink options that may stain the teeth. Examples include things like coffee, soda, red wine, certain berries and other foods that are often very staining.
This doesn’t mean you need to completely avoid these options forever, but it does mean being aware of how they can potentially affect your tooth implants over time. If possible, try to cut back on them — especially if your dental implants are relatively new — so as to not compromise their long-term appearance!
Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco
To whatever degree you can, avoiding both alcohol and tobacco products — especially cigarettes and chewable tobacco — can go a long way in terms of protecting your dental implants. These products are harmful to both natural teeth and dental implants, causing issues like tooth decay and gum disease.
If you understand that you can’t quit these habits cold turkey, take steps like cutting back on their frequency, using substitutes (like nicotine gum) or finding other ways through which to limit your exposure.
Use Teeth-Whitening Toothpaste
Some may think teeth-whitening toothpaste is only meant for natural teeth, but that’s not the case. In fact, a teeth-whitening toothpaste can work wonders on your dental implants as well!
The reason for this is quite simple: All of these toothpastes function by removing stains from the surface of your natural or artificial tooth enamel. If you want to keep them clean and bright, it only makes sense to use a teeth-whitening toothpaste.
Maintain Post-Installation Care
If you’re still in the direct aftermath of your dental implant being installed in your mouth, all the themes we’ve gone over to this point become even more vital. In addition, your dentist may give you a specific maintenance or checkup appointment date upon which you’ll need to return for further care.
This is the time when you’ll want to ensure that your dental implants are properly cared for, with special attention paid to brushing and flossing them so as to not damage or cause pain in any way. If at this point you had a temporary tooth put on while waiting for your permanent implant, you’ll want to keep it clean as well.
Be Alert for Pain or Discomfort
When your dental implants are first being worked on, inserted into your mouth or directly after that, there may be some temporary pain involved. However, once the process is over, you shouldn’t have any additional discomfort at all. If you do notice something wrong or there is pain in your mouth, call your dentist right away.
Pain or discomfort can be an indicator that something went wrong during the installation process. Whatever the much bigger issue might be — such as a dental implant gone rogue and needing to be removed — it’s important to catch these things early on so that they don’t turn into more serious problems!
For more on how to care for and maintain your dental crown, bridge or veneer, or to learn about any of our other implants or dentist services, speak with the staff at Bright Side Dental today.