Over 98 percent of dental implant procedures are successful after placement. In most cases, dental implants can last 10 years or more before a dentist needs to replace them with new ones. But if you don't clean your implants regularly, they could fail within six months after the initial placement. It takes three to six months before the metal posts of dental implants bond with the natural tissues of your jawbones. During this time, it's critical that you follow every precaution and home-care instruction given to you by your dentist. Here's what you should know about your implants and why it's critical to use the right home care.
Why Are Dental Implants So Critical for Your Mouth?
Dental implant posts look and function much like your real teeth roots. They fit deep inside the empty tooth sockets of your missing teeth and allow you to chew properly when you eat. Additionally, the posts prevent the loss of bone growth in your jawbones over time. It's possible for your jawbones to lose as much as 25 percent of their height and width a year after losing a single tooth. The health of your jawbones depend on the success of your implants.
What Are the Benefits of Using the Proper Dental Implant Care?
One of the most important things you can do to increase the success of your dental implants is to clean them as regularly as you would your natural teeth. Although the dental implant procedure makes your gums feel sore and irritated, bacteria and plaque can still develop around the posts and cause gum disease.
Gum disease loosens up the gum tissues that keep your implant posts upright by weakening the blood vessels that supply blood to your gums. If the gums become too loose, the posts may tip over or shift out of placement in their tooth sockets until they fall out. In addition, bacteria can easily infect the bone tissue around your implants and prevent them from bonding with your jaws.
By keeping up with the daily care of your implants, you:
- Speed up the healing and recovery of your implants because the gums and bone tissue around your implants are healthy and strong
- Keep your mouth hydrated — too much bacteria can lead to dry mouth, which causes sores and infections in the gums
- Increase the height and width of your jawbones, as well as stop the movement of other teeth
These are just a few of the rewards you reap from taking good care of your implant posts after surgery. You may stop premature aging and sagging in your cheekbones, chin and jawline due to a loss of bone tissue in your jaws.
What Can You Use to Clean Your Dental Implant Posts?
A regular toothbrush can remove plaque and germs from the surfaces of your implant posts, but it may not remove the buildup in the areas between the gums and the posts. You need special dental tools like a water flosser.
A water flosser is safer for your gums and tender implant sites because it doesn't use floss tape to remove buildup. Floss tape can cut into the gums or push bacteria further into the implant sites. Instead, the flosser uses a fine stream of water to clear away contaminants. The water is painless and soothing, which encourages you to clean your mouth regularly because it doesn't irritate or hurt the implants.
Also, ask your dental provider about implant brushes. The brushes come in many styles and brands, but brushes made with short bristles and compact heads let you clean below and around your posts quickly and efficiently.
You took the steps to improve the health of your mouth by getting dental implants. But if you don't protect them with the right cleaning and care, you could end up losing more than just your implants. You can contact your dentist for more tips on how to keep your implants from failing.