You just had your tooth replaced with a dental implant! What’s next?
Congratulations! You’ve just made the leap to a permanent solution for your missing tooth/teeth needs! But now you have a lifetime ahead of you to keep that investment, and your health, in tiptop shape. To help you do just that, let’s take a look at some of the commonly asked questions our surgeons get here at Seaforth Oral Surgery.
How do I take care of my dental implants?
With proper care, dental implants are likely to last a lifetime. But what exactly does ‘proper care’ constitute? Well, it’s not that different from how you would normally care for your teeth. It is recommended to continue on a classic twice a day minimum brushing, flossing at least once a day, and regular visits with a dentist.
Why might you need to care for your teeth in such a similar fashion? Even if dental implants can’t get cavities, they can suffer the same effects of wear-and-tear and build up of calculus and plaque. This can cause bleeding, soreness, gum problems, and infections, such as the inflammation known as peri-implantitis.
What are the things I should be on the lookout for after getting dental implants?
Peri-implantitis is a rare but growing concern amongst dental implant patients. As mentioned, it is a form of inflammation infection that can be caused by improper hygienic care for your teeth. Left undiagnosed, it can cause implant failure.
The good news is that, with proper care, this condition is usually avoidable. Before it develops, patients will first have the more common, but also preventable and treatable, infection known as peri-implant mucositis. Significantly milder, it is a plaque-induced inflammation confined to the soft tissue around the implant. It’s warning signs are redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums on gentle probing.
Since success in preventing and treating these infections is highly linked to oral hygiene, it’s important that a professional is visited on a regular basis to get a quick diagnosis and treatment plan going.
How long will my dental implants last?
As mentioned, dental implants can last a lifetime and with the right care they should last decades, just like regular teeth. It’s important not to neglect regular visits to your dentist. Dental Implants are a special solution that requires special professional care; after all, a long-term solution requires long-term care.
“From our perspective, an implant treatment is a success when we see a patient at a follow up or check up visit to determine that the jaw bone and gum tissue has responded well to the presence of the implant under functional load,” says Dr. Chehade. This long-term approach is a vital part of our dental therapy. At Seaforth Oral Surgery, our surgeons always insist on seeing our implant patients 3 to 6 months after the final product (crowns) has been delivered by the restoring dentist.
What can I do to protect my investment?
We might sound like a broken record, but good oral hygiene habits and regular check-ups are vital to safeguarding your implants for an extended period. There, are however, a slew of habits you can get into that will help protect your implants.
We came across a great blog post that highlights some such tricks. A few to note are your brushing and flossing techniques. Did you know that, over repeated use, the vibration caused from a firmly-applied electric toothbrush can cause your crown to loosen on its screw? This is why manual brushing is recommended. When it comes to flossing, it’s easy to floss too hard as the ligaments and nerves that support regular teeth aren’t present or as sensitive.
In short, when it comes to brushing and flossing, be kind to your gums