Immediate and long term care – what you need to know.
Dental implants are known not only for their strength and stability, but for their longevity too.
It can be tempting to think that because they are made from artificial materials it is just a case of placing the implant and then nothing can go wrong afterwards. Unfortunately this is not true, and whilst implants are straightforward to look after, if you fail to do this properly, problems can occur which may threaten their survival.
In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at how patients can take care of their new implant, both immediately after placement and in the longer term. You will of course, be given full aftercare instructions when you have an implant placed at The Dental Centre Bedford, but hopefully you will also find this brief guide useful.
Once your dental implant has been placed into the jawbone, a process known as osseointegration will start to take place. This is a slow moving process but one that is essential in order for the implant to be firmly held in place, in effect replacing the natural root of a tooth. This process, where the implant and bone bond together, usually takes around three months, or sometimes a little longer.
This is a critically important time for the implant, and how you look after it at this stage will help to determine its success. There are a number of things that you should take into consideration at this stage.
It is very important that you put no stress on your new dental implant for a while after it has been placed. Common sense alone should tell you that biting into hard foods with it is probably going to cause damage. In fact, we advise that you stick to a liquid diet for some time after the treatment, gradually introducing soft foods after a while. It is probably best if you avoid eating the hardest foods until the next stage of the treatment, where the crown is fitted, just to be on the safe side.
Smoking and drinking
You will have been told to avoid these habits for some time before your treatment took place by your Bedford implant dentist. This should continue at least for the duration of the osseointegration period, and preferably for good. Both smoking and drinking raise the risk of infections and of gum disease.
It is likely that we will need to see you fairly often during this three month period to make sure that everything is going as it should. Please make sure that you keep these appointments so that we can monitor the health of your new implant.
Long term dental implant care
Once the crown has been attached to your implant after the osseointegration period has passed, things become a little easier when it comes to looking after them. By and large, your implant can be looked after in a similar manner to how you look after your natural teeth. This doesn’t mean that you should take your eye off the ball though.
As with your natural teeth, you should brush your implant. Make sure to clean along the gum line by angling the brush bristles towards it. Your implant won’t decay as a natural tooth can, but periodontal disease can still occur, and this presents a real threat to your implant. You should also floss between your teeth for the very same reason.
Smoking and drinking (again)
Although perhaps not as critical as during the first three months, even smoking and drinking with a well established dental implant increases the chances of it failing because of periodontal issues. Try to keep any alcohol consumption to a moderate amount within guidelines, and do try to quit smoking. There are so many medical issues that smoking raises the risk of that it simply isn’t worth it.
Hopefully, you will continue to keep up your regular dental appointments once your implant treatment has been completed. Ongoing monitoring of both your natural teeth and your implant is important. It is also advisable to arrange to see the hygienist on a regular basis so that your teeth and gums can be kept healthier and thereby give your implant the absolute best chance of long term survival.
Dental implants can last for over twenty years or more if they are looked after well. This truly is a great tooth replacement system and one that will give you many years of service if you take just a little time with maintenance and for periodic checks with us.
If you would like to find out more about our teeth implant service, please call The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868.