Dental implants offer the most benefits in replacing a missing tooth or teeth, and implants are becoming increasingly popular as a result. One of those benefits is durability, with implants designed to last for decades with proper care.
Many patients wonder if special care is necessary to extend the life of their dental implants in Long Island. In many ways, caring for dental implants is no different than other good oral hygiene practices.
Regular brushing and flossing are necessary to eliminate oral bacteria that can lead to decay and gum disease. This activity is even more important for an implant patient, as untreated gum disease—especially when there is accompanying bone loss—could lead to the implant’s failure. Fortunately, one of the advantages associated with implants is the patient’s ability to brush and floss normally with these dental appliances. An implant patient still has clear access to the gums, which helps to keep the gums clean.
It is also important for an implant patient to visit the implant dentist as well as the general dentist for routine follow-up care. Regular visits to the implant dentist in the months following implant placement will give the dentist an opportunity to spot any problems as the implant is fusing with the jaw bone. Biannual cleanings and exams with the general dentist will improve overall oral health, which is also important to the implant’s long-term success.
In other aspects, special implant care may be necessary. For example, an implant dentist will recommend a soft diet for the first several weeks following the procedure. Even after the initial healing process is complete, implant patients should continue to avoid biting directly into very hard objects. Patients also may need to have a lighter hand while brushing in the first few days after implant placement, as the gums may be particularly sensitive at that time.
In cases when the implants secure an entire arch of replacement teeth, patients will need to use a small brush specifically designed for this purpose. The patient must lift up the arch in order to clean the gumline below.
Ultimately, however, caring for dental implants is not especially burdensome, and the oral hygiene routine should not deter patients from considering this option.