Care for Dental Implants: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Keeping your dental implants in good condition requires knowing what not to do. Here are common mistakes with care for dental implants and how to avoid them.

People who don't engage in proper care of their dental implants might run into some serious health issues. This can include gum disease, peri-implantitis, and periodontitis.

So, what's the best implant care routine to avoid health complications?

There's no perfect routine. But there are a few key methods to keep your dental implant clean and healthy. Keep reading to learn how, along with more information about the different types of implants.

Types of Implants

Dental implants are screw-like structures that are typically inserted inside the jawbone to replace a missing root and provide support for crowns and bridges, dentures, orthodontic anchors, or facial prosthesis. Implants fuse with bone via osseointegration, usually over the course of six months, at which point they're ready to function as a sturdy and effective support.

There are three primary types of implants you can get based on the type of procedure. These are endosteal, zygomatic, and subperiosteal implants. These can be made of either titanium or zirconium.

Subperiosteal Implants

Subperiosteal implants are placed directly above the jawbone and underneath the gums. They're fixed in place with a metal frame attached to a post. The corresponding crown is fixed to the poles from the frame. It's relatively rare to see patients with subperiosteal implants, as they're typically only necessary if there isn't enough jawbone for an endosteal implant.

Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are the most common type of dental implant. They serve as a direct placeholder for roots after tooth extraction or decay. They're posts with ridges that are screwed into the jawbone at the time of surgery.

This type of dental implant is considered one of the best, as it provides very stable support.

Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic implants are rarely used. The surgery is complicated and only necessary if the patient has very little jawbone to work with. This type of implant isn't placed in the jawbone, rather it is inserted into the cheekbone.

How to Care for Dental Implants

Now that you know a bit more about the different types of dental implants, you can start looking at what type of implant care routine can work for you. You'll need to get your hands on some dental implant cleaning tools, learn how to use them, and learn to avoid certain substances and habits.

Dental Implant Cleaning Tools

While some of the items you'll need for dental implant cleaning might seem obvious, it's important to mention them all. Here's a quick list of what you'll need:

These are all necessary for your daily cleaning routine.

Cleaning and Caring for Dental Implants

Right after surgery, you'll need to adjust your diet and only eat soft foods for 5-7 days. Additionally, it would be best if you avoided anything that's spicy or hot. Alcohol can also slow the healing process.

Oral Hygiene Routine

When it comes to keeping your dental implant clean, you need to follow a daily oral hygiene routine. This applies to all of your teeth, not just your implant.

You need to brush your teeth normally at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening, with a soft nylon toothbrush and low-abrasive toothpaste. The soft bristles prevent any abrasive damage to soft tissue. For any areas where your toothbrush can't reach, use the interdental toothbrush instead.

It would be best if you also floss at least once per day, preferably before going to bed. It's essential to be careful when flossing the temporary tooth and teeth adjacent to your implant, though. Avoid touching your implant directly with the floss. Finally, use the antimicrobial mouthwash twice daily, in the morning and evening, thirty minutes before or after eating.

Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene

If you struggle to build the habit of daily oral hygiene, there are a few tips you can follow that can help. These can keep your mouth in good condition, improving the conditions of your dental implant. Here's a short list of tips to follow:

Mistakes to Avoid

One of the best ways to keep your dental implants clean is to avoid making some common mistakes. This includes some habits, foods, and drinks.

Avoid Smoking

Many believe that smoking is a problem because it can cause discoloration and inflammation. The damage doesn't stop there, though. Nicotine has negative effects that take place system-wide. It can slow the healing process, contribute to gum disease, and reduce your immune system.

Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

It's a good idea to avoid a variety of foodstuffs that can cause damage to your teeth, not to mention your dental implants. This includes anything with extreme temperatures, a sticky consistency, or anything that's overly hard. Here are a few examples to go by:

While it's possible to enjoy these options in a normal diet, it's important to consider the potential damage they can cause. It's recommended to avoid chewing hard food with your dental implant, whenever possible.

Establish an Implant Care Routine

Proper care for dental implants can make all the difference, from the day of surgery to even decades afterwards. A large part of caring for your dental implants follows the typical hygiene routine for normal teeth. But, it's also important to consider a few changes in habits and your diet.

Avoiding hard and sticky foods is key, an it's generally a good idea to steer clear from anything that's too hot or cold. Some habits, like smoking and drinking alcohol, can also cause problems that directly affect a dental implant, along with system-wide consequences over time.

Feel free to contact us if you have any doubts, questions, or otherwise need help with your dental implants. We're here to help, and will walk you through the process of your first visit, checkups, and a variety of other dental services you might need!