The question we often receive from patients after we’ve implanted their new smile is, “how do I take care of my dental implants? Do I use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste?” Or, “can my implants get infected?” The answer is yes and yes. While dental implants are a permanent tooth restoration procedure, it doesn’t mean that it requires little to no maintenance compared to your natural-born teeth. In this post we will be discussing how to maintain your dental implants after receiving them, how long you should expect for your implants to heal, and what red flags to look for if your implants are being compromised.
Dental Implant Recovery Time
First and foremost, dental implants need proper time to heal before receiving the permanent prosthetic tooth. In some cases it can take up to two months and in others it may even take up to four or even six months for total recovery. During this time, be sure to take care of your dental implants and the gums surrounding the implants to prevent infection or inflammation of any sort.
How Do I Care for My Implants? What Should I Use?
Taking proper care of your dental implants ensure continued function and good oral health. Like natural teeth, if you don’t take care of them or the gums surrounding them, they can develop oral ailments just like natural teeth, with the exception of cavities. Dental implants can still cultivate inflammation in the gums if they aren’t brushed or flossed on a daily basis. Not only that but the gums can develop a disease similar to periodontal disease (a localized inflammation), called peri-implantitis. Don’t fret yet; remember that your dentist will go over proper techniques for maintaining your dental implants post-procedure.
While your new teeth may not be natural, they still require routine checkups by your dentist to make sure the surrounding teeth and gums are staying healthy and strong for the implants to remain permanent and stable; to do this, your dentist may take x-rays to better see the conditions of your mouth. Your dentist may also go in and check your artificial tooth roots to confirm that they are stable and appropriately fused together with the jaw bone for optimal permanency. Occasionally, the screws may come loose and in this circumstance, an appointment to see your dentist to clean and tighten them will be necessary to keep them healthy and secure in your palate.
Toothbrushes & Floss
All of our dental implant patients are recommended to brush their teeth at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. Be sure to pick a toothbrush that suits your oral needs, whether it is soft bristles or hard bristles; just remember to brush gently in an up and down motion to prevent scratching the implant surface or the enamel of your natural teeth. As for floss, some patients prefer to use wax floss while others prefer to use an interdental brush or a water irrigator to remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria from in between teeth and gums.
To ensure optimal oral health, it doesn’t hurt to have a good non-alcoholic mouth rinse on hand for after you floss and brush your teeth. Mouth rinses eliminate any leftover bacteria or food particles that have been left behind from brushing and flossing. Bonus, they also give you minty fresh breath that leaves you feeling extra confident with your pearly whites.
Contact P. Vernon Erwin, DDS
If you have one or more missing teeth, dental implants may be the solution for you and your oral health. With proper maintenance like you would with your natural-born teeth, they’ll stay beautiful and strong for a lifetime. To find out whether or not you are eligible for dental implants, contact our office in Glendale, CA to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Erwin. Together, we can determine the solution for your best smile yet!