How to Care for New Dental Implants

How to Care for New Dental Implants

If you have had dental implants placed, you know how important they are to restoring your oral health.

Too many people are unaware that you can’t simply allow a tooth to fall out or be knocked out and not replace it with an artificial one. If a tooth goes missing, the other teeth nearest to where it was will start to naturally lean towards the new gap. This results in their becoming misaligned, which makes them much harder to properly clean, as food particles get stuck in small spaces between the crooked teeth. Bacteria begins to form on them and this develops into a sticky film where the teeth and the gums around them meet, called plaque. Plaque causes the gums to pull away from the teeth that have already become loosened due to misalignment. Without that support, they soon need to be extracted and the cycle starts all over.

But once you have one or more dental implants placed, you can’t slack off. Yes, they could last 10 or 20 years or more, but only with really good care. It is easy to get a little lazy and think that this once you don’t have to brush for two minutes after breakfast and dinner and not do a thorough job of flossing. You’re busy and tired and how much could it hurt to skip a full effort? But then it’s like not exercising: once you make an excuse, it becomes easier to think one more exception won’t matter much.

You have to remind yourself of what you’ve been through with the inconvenience, pain, and expense of dealing with the first implant (or perhaps several). Dentistry is the one medical specialty which requires the patient to be an active collaborator–there is no pill to take or surgical procedure that prevents tooth decay and periodontal disease. Manhattan Beach dentist, Dr. G. depend on you to help them maintain your optimum oral health.

If you are uncertain about exactly how to brush and floss–it isn’t as easy to do it effectively as you might have been taught when you were younger–ask your dental hygienist to show you. Discuss whether you might get better results from an electric toothbrush or even a water pick. Be sure to get a professional cleaning every three to six months, based on the assessment of your need by the hygienist or dentist. If you have any sign of gum infection, ask the hygienist to use an antibacterial solution and give you a professional-grade periodontal rinse for use at home.

Be sure to have a full set of digital x-rays once a year, so that we can check how well your implants are holding and make sure there is no loss of bone in the jaw, which could loosen them and even require a bone graft, if it progresses too far.

Dental implants are too important to have their care taken for granted.

Dr. Erick Gutierrez

Author Dr. Erick Gutierrez

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