Taking care of your dental implants

Having made great progress over the last decade, dental implants give people the smile they desire without the discomfort of dentures. A permanent solution to replace missing teeth, dental implants can last a lifetime if they are properly cared for after being fitted.

How dental implants work

When we lose a tooth, a gap is left in its place. A small and robust titanium screw (known as a dental implant) is permanently fitted where the old tooth once was, fully integrating into the jawbone. Once in place, your dentist will fix an aesthetically made abutment and crown on top to replace the missing tooth.

It is common for adults aged 45-65 to be missing one tooth or more, some of the most common reasons include:

  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Dental injuries
  • General wear and tear
  • Dental extractions
  • Genetics

How to look after your implants

With your new smile in tow, there are some things to consider after having dental implants. It is important to take into consideration some key aspects of dental implant aftercare:

Your toothbrush

Ensure to use a good quality toothbrush, one that is made out of soft nylon bristle such as Oral B or Colgate Plus. It is also advisable to invest in an electric toothbrush, with a recent study discovering those who use an electric toothbrush have less tooth decay and healthier gums in comparison to those who use a manual one. After brushing with your electric toothbrush, dip it in Corsodyl mouthwash and gently clean around the implant.

Daily dental routine

Brushing twice a day, use an anti-plaque white toothpaste such as Colgate Total or Janina. Ensure to floss before brushing to loosen any food debris, using regular dental floss or an interdental brush.

Checking for plaque

Your dentist may also advice to check the crowns on your implant for bacteria. To do this, you will have to use a plaque disclosing tablet. Chewing one tablet will change your saliva to red, which you should then swill around the mouth. After a minute or so, discharge the saliva and rinse your mouth with water. If any bacteria are present, it will show up as red film, making it easy to find and for you to remove.

Keep an eye on the healing

Your dentist will advise you on key things to look out for to detect any early signs of inflammation. If you do have any problems, contact your Dental Practice.

Smoking and dental implants

Smoking will significantly impede the healing of your implants and will detract from the long-term success of implant treatment. Smoking may also void any guarantees given by the Practice.

How does smoking affect dental implants?

As well as having a detrimental effect on a person’s general health, smoking can impact the permanence of dental implants.

Cigarette smoke produces carbon monoxide which has a higher affinity for hemoglobin, reducing the oxygenation of healing tissue. As a result, smoking can significantly impede the healing process after dental implant surgery, increasing the risk of infection and disrupting the body’s ability to repair cells.

Leading Dental Implantologist at Premium Dental Implants, Dr Nigel Jones told ASH Wales about the impact of smoking on dental health and more specifically, its effect on dental implants.

“The main way in which smoking affects dental health is that nicotine reduces blood-flow within existing blood vessels, and the formation of new blood vessels.

“Smokers take three times as long to recover from wounds, and therefore have three times as many infections.

“Major studies by Bain in 2002 and Albreksson in 2015 demonstrate that smokers have two to three times as many dental-implant failures as non-smokers.”

If you are considering Premium Dental Implants and would like more advice on dental implant maintenance, read more about postoperative dental implant care.