When you invest in dental implants, you’re not just investing in a dental procedure that will last for a few years. You’re actually investing in a dental procedure that may last the rest of your life as long as you take proper care of it. That’s why learning and following proper maintenance tips is so important. At Kuzma Advanced Dentistry, we want our patients to enjoy beautiful, healthy smiles with long-lasting results. To help accomplish that, we have 7 tips to help your dental implants last longer.
1. Follow Proper Aftercare Instructions
One of the best ways to ensure your dental implants don’t fail is by following the correct aftercare instructions. After your procedure, Dr. Kuzma will provide you with detailed instructions for the healing process. You may have a limited diet for the first few days that comprises of soft and liquid food only as well as no spicy or hot food. You will also have instructions to not brush near the surgical site. Your aftercare instructions may also include:
- Rinsing your mouth with salt water several times per day
- Icing your mouth to reduce swelling
- Taking ibuprofen for pain
- Carefully cleaning the implant site
- Wearing a nightguard to prevent bruxism
By following proper aftercare instructions, chances of implant failure reduce, and the likelihood of dental implants lasting long, increases.
2. Don’t Smoke
If you really want to get the most life out of your dental implants, you will never put a cigarette in your mouth again. The implant failure rate is significantly higher for smokers versus non-smokers. This is due to a number of reasons. For one, smoking can increase the risk for bacteria infections after implant surgery. Smoking can also decrease the success rate of bone grafts prior to implant surgery. Additionally, smoking can increase the risk for gum disease which also increases the risk for implant failure.
When you smoke, the nicotine also reduces blood flow to the soft tissues. As a result, it can make it more difficult for the mouth to heal properly after implant surgery. Lastly, smoking can damage the salivary glands which can increase the risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease can cause bone loss which can result in implant failure.
3. Continue to Brush Twice a Day
Considering one of the biggest causes of implant failure is gum disease, your best act of defense is to brush your teeth twice a day. You might think that because you no longer have natural teeth that you no longer need to brush your teeth. This is not the case. Your dental implants in addition to your replacement teeth can still accumulate plaque and bacteria. The plaque and bacteria can cause bad breath and gum disease if it’s not brushed away. Make sure to still brush your teeth and clean around your implants twice per day. You should also continue to clean your tongue to freshen your breath and remove bacteria from your mouth.
4. Chew Wisely
You might have never thought about the way that you chew but it actually can play a huge role in how long your implants last. For instance, if you tend to bite hard or chew especially crunchy foods or use your teeth as tools, these actions can put your implants at risk. Just like natural teeth, your implants can only take so much wear and tear before they fail. Make sure to only use your teeth to eat food, not to open packages, chew on ice, or break hard candy.
5. Visit the Dentist Twice Per Year
Even though you have dental implants, we still recommend regular visits to the dentist. Depending on your needs, we may recommend coming twice per year or once per year for a checkup. During this time, we will check the health of your implant and remove any built-up plaque and tartar. These checkups will help identify problems early so we can resolve them before they lead to trouble and these appointments will also keep your mouth healthy!
6. Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Another way to extend the lifespan of your dental implants is by drinking alcohol in moderation. Not only can alcohol lead to oral cancer, but it can also dry out your mouth which can cause gum disease and thus cause your implants to fail. With that in mind, try to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
7. Floss or Use a Water Flosser Daily
Our last tip to extend the lifespan of your dental implants is to use a water flosser around your implants. Water flossers are easy to use and are powerful enough to remove plaque and bacteria from hard-to-reach areas. Using one every day can help prevent gum disease and therefore extend the lifespan of your implants.
Get Dental Implants in Wilmington, NC Today
If you don’t already have dental implants and you’re searching for a tooth replacement solution, look no further than dental implants from Kuzma Advanced Dentistry. Please contact our Wilmington, NC dental office by calling (910) 392-6060 to book an appointment today.