Dental implants are a highly effective strategy for dealing with tooth loss. In fact, a recent study placed the long-term success rate for dental implants at 98.4%. While those numbers indicate that dental implants don't require extensive maintenance to be effective, it is still important for people with dental implants to care for them properly.
Fortunately, caring for your dental implants isn't too much different than caring for your natural teeth. With a few smart choices and solid habits, your implants can serve you well for years to come.
Choosing a Proper Toothbrush
Whether you currently have dental implants or not, choosing the proper toothbrush for your teeth can be difficult. There is a wide variety of styles and shapes available for purchase--each with a different set of advantages and claims. However, making the right toothbrush choice for cleaning a set of teeth with implants is actually quite simple.
The first thing to consider is the shape of the head. Traditional, or block, head designs are good for providing ample bristle coverage on your teeth. That said, it can be difficult to reach teeth in the back of the mouth with a large rectangular head shape. If your implants are in the rear of your mouth, consider choosing a diamond or tapered head shape instead.
Next, take a look at the bristle firmness. Implants are subject to scratching when stiff bristles are used in vigorous brushing. You'll want to choose the softest bristles that still effectively clean your teeth. Fortunately, most people have no difficulty clearing plaque buildup with even the softest of bristles. Soft bristles are a smart choice here.
A final consideration involves the debate between disposable and powered toothbrushes. A disposable toothbrush is cheaper and you can regulate the pressure placed on your implant. On the other hand, powered toothbrushes often clear plaque more effectively with less pressure due to their spinning motion. Both can work equally well, but studies show that powered toothbrushes can be more effective for maintaining implants.
Choosing Your Toothpaste
Just as with toothbrushes, toothpaste comes in a wide range of formulas and features. Some of these features are great for implants--others are not. Choosing wisely can go a long way toward preserving the look of your implants.
Fluoride is found in quite a few toothpaste variants because of its helpful effect on tooth enamel. Implants don't have the same type of enamel and therefore do not benefit from fluoride. However, fluoride will not harm your implants in any way, so feel free to choose a toothpaste with fluoride enrichment if you want.
Unlike fluoride, which won't hurt your implant, some toothpastes contain abrasive cleaning agents. Toothpastes with a high abrasiveness index can scratch implants just like stiff toothbrushes. If your typical toothpaste has a high index, you'll want to switch after you receive implants.
Key Maintenance Habits
Most of the habits required for maintaining your implants are the same that are suggested for general oral health. However, a few of the most frequently ignored suggestions become more important when implants are involved. These include:
- Avoiding stain-inducing foods
Flossing--Flossing will not harm your implant. Also, since implants rely on the health of gums and tissue like normal teeth, removing particles and bacteria is still very important in areas of your mouth that contain implants.
Irrigation--When food becomes lodged between natural teeth, nerve endings are often irritated. Implants will not offer the same feedback. In order to prevent food particles from causing bacteria to accumulate, flush your mouth with water frequently.
Avoiding stain-inducing foods--When beverages such as red wine and coffee stain your teeth, they typically stain in a consistent fashion. Implants, due to their material being different than a natural tooth, will stain at a different rate. This can cause a mismatched look between natural teeth and implants.
That's basically all there is to it. By understanding these concepts and maintaining proper dental hygiene habits, your implants should remain beautiful and functional for many years to come. For more information about caring for your dental implants contact a company like Advanced Dental Techniques.