One of the many benefits of dental implants is that once they are in place and have healed, they can be cared for in much the same way as your natural teeth.
However, something that is causing dentists cause for concern is that a growing number of patients worldwide are neglecting their dental implants, believing that because they are artificial, they don’t need to be cleaned. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Just as with your natural teeth, plaque and bacteria can build up around dental implants, damaging the gums and travelling beneath the gum line into your jaw bone. This can cause a condition known as peri-implantitis, which is the deterioration of supporting bone around the implant. If peri-implantitis is left untreated, the implant may come loose and have to be removed.
The longer-term effects of this bone loss can include changes to your facial structure, problems with your speech, tooth movement, problems with your bite, aches and pains caused by bite problems, and much more.
Here at Hook Dental, our aim is to ensure that you never have to worry about the symptoms of peri-implantitis. We do this by talking to you about your oral health and hygiene, and inviting you to attend regular check-ups and hygienist appointments.
It’s essential that you care for your dental implants at home too.
Caring for your dental implants
You should brush your teeth, including your dental implants, at least twice a day – once in the morning and before bedtime. It’s especially important to brush your teeth before you go to sleep as your saliva production will slow down overnight, which means that your mouth will be less able to neutralise harmful acids that can attack your teeth.
If you have a dental bridge attached to your implants, rather than one or more single dental implants, then you may need to use a specialist implant brush or interdental products to clean between your teeth and under the bridge along the gum line. If you’re not sure what cleaning products you should be using, do pop into Hook Dental and we’ll be happy to advise you.
We recommend that you allow five to ten minutes for cleaning your teeth, both morning and night. Use a good mirror with good light in the room, so that you can see where you’re cleaning.
In terms of your oral health toolkit, a good electric toothbrush can help you clean your teeth more effectively, whether or not you have dental implants. It is also sensible to use disclosing tablets once a week to keep an eye on potential areas of plaque build-up.
You can help to avoid peri-implantitis by following a healthy diet and lifestyle. Drink plenty of water daily, eat green vegetables and include fish oil or other healthy fats in your diet.
Arguably, the single most important lifestyle change you can make to look after your dental implants is to quit smoking, as smoking has been linked to higher risks of infection and implant rejection.
If you would like to find out more about dental implants or you need advice about caring for your implants, simply call us at Hook Dental on 01256 762 353.