A Comprehensive Guide to Maintenance of Dental Implants: Tips, Instructions, and Precautions

Dental implants have revolutionised dentistry, providing long-lasting dental restoration for individuals who have lost one or more teeth for various reasons. They are made to replace lost tooth roots and hold artificial teeth.

Teeth implants have gained popularity over the years because they are strong and durable. However, the durability of dental implants heavily depends on the maintenance and care provided by the individual. Otherwise, dental implants can lose their durability.

This article delves into the essential tips for dental implant care. We will discuss daily maintenance, lifestyle factors that can have an impact on implants, and other relevant implant care instructions. We can help you secure your investment in a confident, radiant smile for years to come.

dentists with a patient during a dental intervention.
  • Closely follow aftercare instructions after dental implant surgery, such as controlling bleeding and avoiding vigorous mouth rinsing.
  • Essential daily care routines consisting of brushing, flossing and using interdental brushes regularly are crucial for reducing bacterial growth in the mouth and maintaining dental implants.
  • There are no extensive maintenance or dental implant cleaning techniques for most types. They can be well-maintained through diligent oral hygiene habits at home and regular visits to the dentist.
  • Lifestyle habits such as smoking and alcohol intake can harm dental implants.
  • Professional dental implant maintenance should be sought with regular check-ups and cleaning appointments.
  • Precautions to protect against dental trauma are necessary to ensure the longevity of dental implants. In case of damage, contacting a dentist is highly important for a replacement implant.

Aftercare Instructions

Immediately following dental implant surgery, it is crucial to prioritise proper aftercare to promote optimal healing and eventual restoration of one’s oral health. The dentist will provide specific post-surgery care for each patient. However, we provide the following standard dental implant care instructions:

  • Avoid eating. It is important to wait until the effects of anaesthesia or numbing agents have worn off before you can eat again.
  • Control the bleeding. As per the dentist’s advice, the patient needs to place clean gauze in the area where the tooth implant was placed. Gently pressed with firm pressure for 30 minutes to help manage the bleeding. Rinsing with warm salt water may also help mitigate bleeding and reduce bacteria in the mouth.
  • Change the gauze. Carefully take out the gauze and replace it regularly with a new one. Bite down again with gentle yet firm pressure until the bleeding slows down. Changing the gauze is important to avoid infection.
  • Do not mouth rinse. Most dentists highly suggest avoiding rinsing the mouth within twenty-four hours after the tooth implant placement. Because it can worsen the bleeding and increase the risk of damaging the blood clot. In the following days when you need to rinse your mouth, let the saline water run out of your mouth without swishing vigorously.
  • Soft food diet. Patients who have recently undergone dental implant placement should stick with eating soft foods. These include foods that require little to no chewing to help avoid irritating the area or dislodging the forming blood clot.
  • Free your schedule. After dental implant surgery, the body needs rest to heal, so avoiding participating in strenuous activities is necessary.
  • Manage the swelling. Apply ice packs to the outside of the face to help alleviate swelling, continuing this for 20 to 30 minutes at a time within a 24-hour period.

Aside from the immediate dental implant care instructions that are mentioned above, it is essential to note that keeping up with follow-up dental appointments also plays a vital role in maintaining dental implants. It serves as an opportunity to monitor the condition of the teeth implants and check for any signs of problems.

Daily Care and Maintenance

Practising meticulous dental hygiene care daily at home can keep your mouth, teeth, and gums clean. This means dental implants are less likely to experience problems. You should be brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day and use fluoride or low-abrasive toothpaste to strengthen the tooth enamel and protect against decay. Dental professionals also highly recommend daily flossing or using interdental brushes to remove debris or food particles left between teeth and around the dental implant, preventing the risk of plaque buildup. Following these routines can significantly reduce the likelihood of complications, helping you enjoy a durable, attractive smile for years to come.

Lifestyle Factors Affecting Dental Implant Maintenance

The longevity of dental implants does not solely depend on caring for teeth and gums. It’s essential to consider lifestyle choices that could adversely affect these artificial teeth in order to maximize their benefits. For starters, let’s discuss some of the common lifestyle habits that may potentially jeopardise dental implants:

  • A well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet. Individuals can maintain optimal oral health and prevent potential dental implant complications by making mindful dietary choices. One essential strategy is to limit the consumption of sugar and starch, as these substances contribute to plaque buildup, which is a sticky film of bacteria that can result in gum inflammation and tooth decay.
  • Alcohol intake. Another lifestyle habit that can negatively affect your dental implants is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Minimising alcohol intake can be beneficial for promoting the success of teeth implants in the long run.
  • Avoidance of tobacco products. Among these lifestyle choices, smoking stands out as one with a particularly detrimental impact on implant maintenance. Research has shown that smokers are at a considerably higher risk of implant failure. It is because cigarette toxins can impair blood flow and hinder the optimal surgical site healing process. This means affecting the osseointegration process of dental implants, which is essential for their stability and long-term success. Hence, most dentists take smoking habits into account before recommending teeth implants. 

Professional Maintenance

Regular dental check-ups are essential for protecting oral health, which in turn keeps dental implants in good shape. These appointments also provide an opportunity to undergo dental implant cleaning. While proper oral care at home works well, getting a professional cleaning done by the dentist is different. This is because they use specialized dental tools to scrape away food debris that cannot be reached by a regular soft toothbrush. That way, plaque and tartar buildup can be reduced significantly, and patients can achieve healthier teeth.

Furthermore, visiting the dentist to keep up with professional dental implant maintenance can be a great way to address any potential issues early. They can perform dental x-rays to check the underlying structures surrounding dental implants. Such dental tools are essential for evaluating their stability and proper function.

The Importance of Consistency

The consistency of practising proper maintenance for the dental implant should not be overlooked. People who take care of their teeth and gums and follow the dental implant care instructions given to them by their dentist have a better chance of maintaining the integrity and functionality of their prosthetic teeth in the long run.

On the other hand, failure to maintain consistency in taking proper care of teeth implants and overall oral health can increase the risk of implant failure. When this happens, the replacement tooth can look unnatural, and the gums will recede, which may expose the dental implants underneath.

Precautions and Considerations

Dental implants can be a well-worth investment for one’s oral health by completing missing teeth and restoring chewing force. But to fully enjoy the advantages of dental implants, there are certain precautions to take into account, including the following:

  • Types of food to eat. While dental implants have minimal food restrictions, it is still crucial to be mindful of what to eat to prevent damaging artificial teeth. Avoid eating hard and chewy food as it may be too tough for the tooth implants to withstand.
  • Protection from dental trauma. Dental trauma or mouth injury is one of the reasons for dental implant failure. Strong blows and sudden impacts in the mouth can delay the healing of newly placed teeth implants. Pausing participating in any strenuous activities is highly recommended during the initial few months of receiving dental implants.

However, keep in mind that even after a patient has fully healed from dental implant surgery, there is still a risk of late implant failure in the event of severe dental trauma. So, wearing customised mouthguards to protect the teeth is important.

  • Good oral hygiene habits. We can’t stress the importance of a good oral hygiene routine enough. Sticking with a healthy mouth routine can minimise plaque buildup, making it less likely to have tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral diseases that can hurt dental implants.

Maintenance for Different Types of Implants

Patients with various cases of missing teeth can choose from several types of dental implants. These include single, multiple, full-arch, and immediate-load dental implants. Regardless of the type, most of them integrate seamlessly with the jawbone structure and resemble natural teeth.

One of the reasons why people opt for dental implants is because maintenance is quite similar to taking care of natural teeth. It is relatively straightforward compared to other alternative dental restorations, which may require specific cleaning routines or adhesives to keep them in place. Patients with dental implants can maintain their regular dental hygiene routine, such as brushing their teeth twice daily, flossing, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash to protect against gingivitis and plaque buildup.

The exception occurs when dental implants hold removable prosthetic teeth, which may require slightly different care practises to maintain their integrity. When it comes to caring for removable full-arch dental implants, it is essential to handle them with care. Remember to brush both the false teeth and the underside attached to the dental implant. Whenever you are not wearing artificial teeth, don’t forget to store them in a provided container with water or a specific solution.

Alongside a tailored at-home oral care routine, patients must comply with their dentist’s guidelines to keep each tooth implant type retains its stability, aesthetic appearance, and overall dental health benefits.

Loosening or Fracturing of Implants

When a dental implant falls off, breaks, or cracks, it is important to tell the dentist immediately. They will evaluate the extent of the damage and decide what to do. If the dental crown (artificial tooth) is broken or cracked, the dentist will make a new one with help from the dental lab. A new teeth impression may be necessary to create a replacement implant.

On the other hand, if the abutment is damaged, they can restore them without replacing the entire dental implant. However, if the titanium screw itself fails, it needs to be removed, and a dental bone graft procedure may be necessary before placing a new dental implant.

Costs of Dental Implant Maintenance

The dental cover for dental implant maintenance can vary significantly across different private health funds. Some companies may partially cover the cost of dental implant procedures, but others may classify them under cosmetic dentistry, which is generally not included in their dental cover. We highly suggest speaking directly with the preferred provider to determine whether dental implant maintenance is included in their policy.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants involve quite simple maintenance to prolong their lifespan. Taking care of the teeth and gums is particularly crucial because they are the oral structures that hold the implant posts. Incorporating essential daily oral care routines, such as regular brushing, using a floss, and interdental brushes consistently, are the habits to prevent any complications.

Seeking professional care with regular dental check-ups, dental implant cleaning appointments, and adhering to the dentist’s guidelines are necessary for optimal dental implant preservation. Moreover, contacting the dentist is important if your dental implant sustains damage. This way, you can maintain a bright and healthy smile.

Peel Dental Studio is here to help you maximise the advantages of dental implants. Our team are dedicated to bringing back the strength of your beautiful smile by providing efficient and quality dental restorations. Schedule your next dental visit with us by calling us today!

Avatar photo

Peel Dental Studio

https://peeldentalstudio.com.au

Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.