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Susan TaylorBy Expert Author: Proper Dental Implant Care and Maintenance
Dental implants replace the form and function of missing teeth, and should be maintained just like (lost) natural teeth. The implants are valuable investments that should be properly cared for, so that their use and value are fully maximised. Proper implants care and maintenance will also ensure that beautiful, healthy smiles are enjoyed for a longer period of time.
Caring for Dental Implants
Good Oral Hygiene – Dental implants, and the teeth replacements attached to the implants, replace the form and function of natural teeth. As such, the care given to natural teeth should likewise be practised with the implant system. Regular tooth brushing should be done to remove food pieces that may be stuck between the teeth replacements the gum line, as leaving food debris inside the mouth may trigger dental problems and gum problems which can harm the implants. The implants are not susceptible to tooth decay, but gum disease can affect the implants and cause infections. If the infections reach the bone underneath (which support the implants), implant failure may occur.
Eat with Caution – Implants enable one to enjoy food once again after the loss of natural teeth, but eating should still be done with a healthy dose of caution. Avoid using the implants and teeth restorations for biting on very hard of extremely chewy food items to protect the implant system from damage. In addition, the implants and teeth replacements should not be used as tools like cutting through packages, or pulling on hard to open items.
Avoid Drinking Extremely Hot Liquids – Implants are made of metal, which retain heat. Drinking extremely hot liquids can heat up an implant and make it retain heat for while, which can burn the thin layer of cells surrounding the implant. This burning of cells, when done repeatedly, can cause implant failure.
Do Not Use a Vibrating Toothbrush – Using an electric toothbrush can harm implants, because the vibrations can loosen the internal screw underneath the dental crown or teeth restoration. In order to tighten the screw again, the implant parts may need to be separated (a difficult process to do) and the crown may need to be replaced – with both procedures usually involving huge additional costs.
Go for Regular Dental Maintenance Checkups – Regular dental checkups can help in the early detection of dental and gum problems, so that these can be treated before the implants are damaged. The jawbone surrounding the implants will also need to be checked regularly with the help of X-rays. The hygienist should be informed of the presence of dental implants, so vibrating or ultrasonic devices that can harm the implants will not be used during hygiene appointments.
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