Your dental implants can last a lifetime with proper dental care. (Note: this estimate is for the implant itself; with good dental hygiene, crowns can last up to 15 years before needing replacement.) Follow these guidelines to ensure the longevity of your dental implants.
Just as with natural teeth, it’s recommended that you brush (for at least two minutes) twice a day when you have dental implants. Doing so keeps your mouth clean and prevents the growth of bacteria, protecting your teeth from decay and other oral diseases. Electric brushes may be more effective at cleaning than manual brushes, as they clean more thoroughly and take less time, but your choice of toothbrush is a personal preference.
If flossing wasn’t a part of your daily oral hygiene routine before you got implants, it should become part of it now. Like with brushing, flossing prevents the growth of bacteria from in between teeth by removing debris that brushing can miss. A water pick water flosser is an acceptable substitute if you can’t manage with regular string floss.
It’s important for your dentist to be able to keep an eye on the functionality of the dental implants. Coming in regularly (twice a year) for dental appointments will help him, or her see how the implants are working and check the overall health of your mouth to address any problems that may be developing.
Receiving regular teeth cleanings are an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth for anyone. For individuals with dental implants, it’s recommended that your teeth are professionally cleaned four times during the first year after the implant placement. This helps to establish good habits to keep your soft tissues healthy. After that, your dental hygienist will recommend an annual tooth cleaning schedule for you.
Besides the steps mentioned above, it’s important that you pay attention to your oral hygiene overall. Try to avoid eating foods that might be particularly damaging to your teeth, such as sugary foods and drinks or snacking too much between meals. Never skip brushing your teeth; this creates the opportunity for bacteria to remain in your mouth, eventually forming plaque and causing further damage to your teeth. Finally, it’s a good idea to pick up some mouthwash, which helps take care of any debris or bacteria that brushing and flossing can leave behind.
Your dental implants can serve you well for a good number of years if you treat them well first.