Two Dental Implant Maintenance Tips for a Long-Lasting Smile

Dentist Blog

You may have heard the rumor that dental implants will last a lifetime. While there are people whose implants lasted their entire lives, these teeth generally have a lifespan of about 25 years. The key to such longevity is vigilant care and maintenance, though. Here are two things you can do to make your implants last for as long as possible.

1. Invest in a Waterpik

Although dental implants are made of non-organic materials, such as titanium and porcelain, the harmful bacteria in your mouth are still a threat to them. If you don't clean around and between the teeth thoroughly, bacteria can settle into those spaces and cause cavities in nearby teeth as well as inflammation and infection in the gums, which is one of the top reasons dental implants fail.

While traditional floss is good for getting in-between teeth, a Waterpik is a better option for a couple of reasons. First, string floss is good for scraping away plaque but it can cut gums, increasing your risk of infection. Waterpiks, however, use a stream of water to clear away plaque and food debris, which is kinder to gums. They have been shown to remove up to up to 99.9% of plaque, making them just as effective as regular floss.

Second, Waterpiks are typically easier for people to use, especially those who have medical problems with their hands and wrists, such as arthritis or carpal tunnel. You simply need to hold the wand and move it to the places in your mouth that you want to clean. Since flossing this way isn't as troublesome, it makes it more likely you'll do it regularly, which is critical for protecting your teeth.

Thus, investing in a Waterpik is a good way to ensure you're cleaning your teeth and implants the right way to keep them around for a long time.

2. Change Your Diet

Once your dental implants heal, you can pretty much eat all of your favorite foods with just as much ease as if they were your real teeth. However, it's a good idea to make some adjustments to your diet and eating habits anyway to reduce the risk of damaging your implants. It isn't that dental implants are weaker than regular teeth; they're quite strong actually, but the way they are designed can make them more prone to mechanical damage. Your real teeth have multiple roots that distribute chewing forces throughout the entire tooth.

However, the crown of a dental implant is placed on top of a single post, and all the chewing force goes into that metal root. On top of that, the implant post is held in place by brand new bone that grew in over a period of months to integrate the post to the jaw. This is a source of strength and weakness for the implant. Thus, to avoid damage to the dental implant, it's a good idea to reduce your consumption of hard and chewy foods, such as nuts, lollypops, and carrots. In addition to potentially dislodging the implant, these types of foods can cause microcracks in the crowns over time, resulting in major damage or implant failure.

You don't have to give up those foods entirely, but you should consume them in different forms. For instance, switch to steamed carrots instead of raw. If you're not sure which foods may cause a problem with your implant, discuss the issue with your cosmetic dentist, who can provide sound advice for dealing with this particular issue.

There are many other things you can do to ensure your dental implants last a long time. Consult with your dentist for more tips and advice.


20 August 2020