Caring for Your Dental Implants Now and in the Future
Dental implants are considered the superior prosthetic tooth replacement option for missing teeth for a few reasons. They are beautiful and realistic in appearance, mimic natural teeth in function, and prevent oral health risks like jawbone deterioration. But one advantage that strongly encourages patients to move forward with dental implant surgery is that they last a lifetime—with proper care.
You might be wondering what “proper care” entails and how you can ensure you get the maximum lifespan out of the investment you’ve made for your smile. Here’s what you need to know.
What are some long-term expectations for dental implants?
If you’ve never had a dental implant before, you’re probably wondering what you can reasonably expect from this procedure. Dental implant surgery is invasive after all and requires a fairly lengthy healing process compared to other dental procedures.
Here are four things to keep in mind.
1. Dental implant surgery success rates are very high.
Dental implants have an exceptionally high long-term success rate — well over 90%. Your success rate will be even higher if you choose a dentist, like Dr. Tomasik, who has the experience and access to technology that allows for precise implant placement.
2. Your dental implants are most vulnerable while healing.
Although dental implant failure is rare, complications are most likely to happen during the healing stage. Osseointegration is occurring during this point, which is the process of the jawbone fusing with the implant post. This is why it’s crucial to follow your dentist’s guidelines on diet and oral hygiene throughout the healing period, even if your implant feels like it’s stable and healed.
3. Dental implant posts can last for life.
A healthy, fully-fused dental implant post can easily last for life without needing to be replaced. It’s quite rare for a dental implant post to ever need replacement, especially if you maintain an optimal level of oral health.
4. Dental implant crowns can last 10 to 15 years.
While the dental implant post lasts a lifetime, the crown that forms your new tooth has a shorter lifespan. Dental crowns for implants are very similar to standard dental crowns in terms of how long they last, which is roughly 10 to 15 years or more. If your crown does break or becomes worn, your dentist will simply remove it and replace it with a new one.
What can cause dental implants to fail?
Even though it’s unlikely to experience dental implant failure, it’s still important to know what could possibly go wrong so you can recognize signs of trouble.
The most common reasons for a dental implant to fail is because of:
- Periodontal disease or peri-implantitis
- Bruxism or TMD-related jaw clenching
- Osteoporosis and other systemic conditions
- Oral infection reaching the implant
- Smoking or frequent alcohol consumption
If your dental implant ever feels off in any way, such as wiggly or tender, or if the gum tissue around the implant is inflamed or painful, you need to see your dentist ASAP.
How can I extend the lifespan of my dental implants?
Caring for implants is fairly straightforward. In fact, you’ll see that taking care of your dental implant isn’t very different from how you’d care for the rest of your smile.
1. Prioritize your oral hygiene routine.
Prioritizing your at-home oral care routine is the key to a long-lasting dental implant. Brush twice a day for two minutes and consider brushing again after a big meal or a sweet treat. Floss at least once a day and whenever you feel you have food stuck in your teeth. Most importantly, do your best to never skip brushing your teeth, especially at the end of the day before bed.
2. Use the best products and tools available.
Ask your dentist for advice on which oral care products you should use, especially if your implant is still in the healing stage. You might also consider upgrading to a powered toothbrush and a water flosser. These tools can make it easier to clean your teeth and around your dental implant compared to standard string floss or a manual toothbrush.
3. Eat a nutritious, varied diet.
The food you eat fuels your body and supports your oral health. Limit your sugar and starch consumption as much as possible and be mindful of hidden sugars in drinks, like juice and diet beverages. Base most of your diet around whole foods, with plenty of crunchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and healthy protein sources.
4. Be aware of your gum health.
Gum disease typically begins as gingivitis or chronic gum inflammation. It’s important to be aware of the signs of gingivitis, such as irritated, red, or bleeding gums when flossing or brushing. Even if the gingivitis isn’t surrounding your dental implant, the inflammation can quickly spread.
Prevent gingivitis and gum disease by thoroughly flossing around each tooth using proper technique at least once daily.
5. Visit your dentist every six months.
Seeing your dentist on a regular basis for an examination and cleaning is equally important as your at-home oral hygiene routine. At these appointments, your dentist will be able to spot trouble before you’re able to, including problems that may directly or indirectly impact your dental implant.
Tomasik Family Dental will help you maintain beautiful, healthy dental implants.
The team at Tomasik Family Dental supports your oral health through every step of your dental implant surgery, from consultation to placement, and future care to ensure maximum longevity.
During your routine appointments, we’ll not only evaluate your overall smile but also check that your dental implant is still healthy and stable. Our detailed cleanings also ensure stubborn plaque is removed from all surfaces of your implant crown.
If you have any questions about dental implants or you’re due for a checkup, you can book an appointment today by calling our Bee Cave, TX, office or filling out this online form.