How to Protect Your Teeth

Is It Really That Easy To Care For Your New Dental Implant?

Dental implants are the closest possible substitute for a natural tooth. The titanium implant resembles a small screw and is placed in your jaw. The bone heals around the implant, securing its position. A false tooth (called a dental crown) can then be attached to the implant. The implant and its false tooth will be indistinguishable from the natural tooth it's replacing, and you look after it as though it was a natural tooth. But is this all that's involved in caring for a dental implant?

Brushing Your Implant

The titanium implant and its porcelain dental crown cannot be affected by decay—which certainly isn't the case with natural teeth. However, the organic tissues that surround the implant can become infected, but this is usually only relevant to those with poor oral hygiene. If you regularly brush your implant's false tooth to remove potentially harmful bacteria, you can generally avoid an infection around the implant site. But if the gums around the implant become sore and inflamed, please schedule a checkup with your dentist, as this can be an early warning sign of a periodontal infection that may be affecting the tissues around your implant.

Flossing Around Your Implant

In addition to brushing the accessible surfaces of your implant's false tooth, you'll need to clean its mesial and distal sides—as you should be doing with all your teeth. These are the sides of teeth that face each other; essentially the spaces between your teeth, which are called your interdental spaces. Flossing is the simplest form of interdental cleaning, but people with dental implants (particularly new implants) may be hesitant to floss, as this can damage the gums at the base of the implant, potentially exposing the junction where the false tooth meets the implant. Invest in a water floss device, which shoots a small jet of water into your interdental spaces in order to clean them without irritating your gums.

Grinding and Your Implant

Your dentist will give you some specific dietary instructions after your implant is placed. These instructions aren't permanent and are more about avoiding hard and chewy foods while your implant heals—since too much pressure and friction can break the implant's connection to your jawbone. Grinding your teeth can have the same effect. If you grind your teeth overnight, your implant may experience accelerated wear and tear. Invest in a night guard, which is an ultra-thin retainer designed to protect your teeth from grinding-induced corrosion. This becomes even more important with a dental implant.

Caring for a dental implant is quite simple and is practically identical to caring for a natural tooth.

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