Follow Good Oral Hygiene Practices

Home care is the most crucial factor in ensuring that your dental implants last a lifetime. It’s vital that you practice good oral hygiene at home.

Brush your teeth twice a day. Ensuring you’re cleaning plaque (dental biofilm) off your teeth is essential. For most people, brushing twice a day is adequate. Brushing more often than that can irritate gum tissue and potentially contribute to receding gums around the dental implant. Use a soft-bristled brush and regular toothpaste that is non-abrasive. Use gentle pressure with the toothbrush. If you are irritating your gums with your brushing technique, we can help you understand how to brush correctly. Many electric toothbrushes also have pressure sensors to help you avoid pushing too hard. 

Floss every day. Flossing helps clean bacteria and food that can build up between the teeth. Floss gently around your dental implant to avoid damaging delicate gum tissue. The technique for flossing around dental implants might differ slightly from flossing natural teeth. It might take time to adapt to cleaning around dental implants. 

Sometimes, it makes sense to try different flossing tools. Interdental brushes are easier to use than floss and might be more effective for cleaning dental implants. Water flossers can also work effectively. Ultimately, the best flossing tool is the one you will use most consistently. 

If you have a removable implant denture, remove it daily for cleaning. Follow your implant dentist’s instructions for caring for the implant denture, including what tools to use and how often you should soak it. Many implant dentures are not removable, so you shouldn’t worry about this step.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

adult man flossing his teeth

Dental implants are designed for life, but if you engage in certain bad habits, your implants may only last for a short time. Here are some habits you should try to avoid if you have dental implants:

  • Smoking or smokeless tobacco use
  • Chewing non-food items: pens, pencils, fingernails, ice, etc.
  • Using your teeth as tools: pliers, scissors, nutcrackers, etc.
  • Engaging in contact sports without a mouthguard

Tobacco use can impact your periodontal health, leading to gum disease and bone loss around the dental implants.

Chewing non-food items and using your teeth as tools can damage the dental crown and even dislodge the dental implant. Where natural teeth have a built-in shock absorber, dental implants are embedded directly in your bone, and shocks can damage the bone around the implant, causing loose implants.

Because your dental implants don’t have the flexibility of natural teeth, they might be even more vulnerable to using them as tools. Trying to cut packages, break nuts, or crack ice with dental implants can damage them. 

Contact sports can damage your dental implant just like natural teeth. Make sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your dental implants. 

Attend Regular Dental Check-Ups

It’s essential to get regular checkups and professional cleanings to maintain the health of your dental implant. All our hygienists are thoroughly trained to care for dental implants at our office correctly. If you go elsewhere to maintain your dental implants, ensure they understand how to care for implants properly. Depending on your oral health, we might encourage you to get dental checkups more than twice a year to ensure your teeth remain healthy and you avoid gum disease around the implant.

Wear Protective Mouthguards If Provided

Dental implants are generally strong enough to withstand bite force under most normal circumstances. You don’t have to worry about biting and chewing most foods with your implants. 

If you have excessive bite force or are prone to clenching and grinding (bruxism), your implant dentist will provide protective mouthguards to keep your dental implants safe. 

Your implant dentist will measure your bite force before and after placing dental implants to determine if you have excessive bite force. They’ll also review teeth wear to see if you are likely a bruxer.

Report Any Concerns

Your implant dentist will only see your implants when you come for treatment. You see them every day. This puts you in a better position to spot potential problems. Look for signs of possible dental implant problems, such as:

  • Redness around implant
  • Soreness around implant
  • Receding gums around implant
  • Loose implant
  • Feeling that your bite has changed
  • Damage to crown, bridge, or denture

If you spot any of these signs of dental implant problems, please contact your implant dentist for an appointment. When spotted early, most dental implant problems can be corrected quickly. The more prolonged problems go unreported, the more likely they will lead to severe complications, including implant loss.

Maintain Dental Implants for Life in Irvine

If you have questions about dental implant maintenance or want to get your dental implants in Irvine, please schedule a consultation at Rice Dentistry in Irvine today.