Dental Implant Maintenance

Long term care of your tooth implant

Two dental implantsAs dental implants become more widely known, an increasing number of people are choosing to have them when they have lost a tooth. One key factor for those that choose to have them placed via our Ipswich dental clinic is the fact that, unlike dentures, they are relatively straightforward to keep clean and healthy.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay attention to them though. As with your natural teeth, things can easily go wrong if you fail to take care of them as you should.

Whilst it is true that special care needs to be taken for the first 3 months or so after an implant has been placed, this doesn’t mean that maintenance of them should stop there. Foxhall Dental’s implant dentists cover some of the most important aspects of this long term aftercare below.

Why the need for diligent care?

You might think that as an implant is made entirely from artificial materials, it shouldn’t need to be brushed etc. It is true that the implant itself won’t suffer from decay if you don’t brush it, but remember that its survival and stability depends on the healthy surrounding bone which holds the implant securely in place. If this fails, it is likely that the implant will too.

Gum disease, and especially periodontitis and peri-implantitis are particular threats to a dental implant, but this can be avoided if you take good care of your gums.

Mouth guards

Before we move on to general implant maintenance, it is worth stating that if you play a contact sport such as football, you should wear a mouthguard. This will protect not only your natural teeth but your implant too. Whilst an implant can be replaced, if there is any damage caused to the bone in that area, perhaps from a collision between players, replacing it may not be straightforward.

If you regularly play contact sports where facial damage might occur, you might wish to delay having implants until you no longer play, perhaps using dentures as a temporary solution instead.

Cleaning your implant

Although you will need to follow your dentist’s instructions for cleaning immediately after your implant has been placed, you will eventually be able to brush it normally. This is important and you should do so as you would your own natural teeth. A healthy toothbrush is essential, so do replace yours when the bristles become worn (approximately every 3 months) and make sure to angle the bristles so that they reach beneath the gumline. Failure to do this could lead to an accumulation of food particles and bacteria below the gum line which can then lead to gum disease.

We strongly recommend that you also floss around your implant and your natural teeth. Flossing can reach areas that a toothbrush can’t and plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mouth.

Smoking and drinking

You will have been told not to smoke or drink excessively for a period of time either side of your implant placement. You should not take it as a green light that it is safe to start again after this period has passed as smoking and excessive drinking are both known to be significant factors in many cases of gum disease. The irritation from smoke, the narrowing of tiny blood vessels in the gum which reduces blood flow and a dry mouth that allows potentially harmful bacteria to thrive, are all linked to smoking.

We strongly advise that all of our Ipswich patients stop smoking if at all possible. Your oral and general health will benefit from it and your wallet will too.

Professional gum health care

In addition to making sure that you clean your teeth and dental implants well at home, we strongly recommend that you see our dental hygienist every six months for a professional cleaning. This procedure is called a ‘scale and polish’ and is able to remove tartar which has built up on the gum line which home cleaning is not able to do. This non-invasive treatment carried out every six months will go a long way to ensuring that you have a healthy mouth and healthy teeth implants.

As you can see from the above, looking after dental implants is straightforward and problems shouldn’t arise if you do. The time taken and convenience factor is far superior to the fiddly cleaning that is necessary if you have dentures in our opinion. If you would like to find out more about implants and whether you are a suitable candidate for them, please call the Foxhall Dental Practice for a consultation with one of our implant team on 01473 258396. We look forward to seeing you!