3d render of dental implant on blue background

Maximizing the Lifespan of Your Dental Implants

Dental implants are permanent replacements for your tooth roots. With proper care, your dental implants can last for your entire lifetime. Unfortunately, some lifestyle choices can shorten the lifespan of your dental implants.

Dental implants consist of two main parts: a metal post surgically implanted into your jaw, and a natural looking crown. To keep them looking and working well, you’ll need to take care of both the implant and the crown.

Helpful Hints and Tips for Making Your Dental Implants Last Forever

Use a soft toothbrush

Hard toothbrushes have stiff bristles that can scratch the crowns attached to your dental implants. Be sure to brush around each implant carefully.

Avoid abrasive products

Don’t use abrasive products, such as teeth whitening products. These products work by scratching the surface of your teeth, which can damage your implants.

Floss every day

Food particles can get stuck between your teeth, and can even become lodged between your dental implant and its neighboring tooth. Bacteria can feed on the sugar in this leftover food, and in the process, create acid that can cause tooth decay and cavities in your natural teeth.

Food can also combine with saliva to create plaque that can accumulate on your natural teeth and on your dental implants. If left in place, plaque can trigger gum disease that can irritate your gums, in a condition known as peri-implant mucositis. Left untreated, the condition can deteriorate the bone holding your it in place.

Flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth. If you have trouble remembering to floss, try these great ideas:

  • Set a reminder on your phone
  • Stash floss in your car, purse, or desk drawer
  • Reward yourself for flossing

Avoid hard or sticky foods

While your dental implants are strong and sturdy, they are no match for especially sticky or hard foods – especially during the first few weeks after you receive your implants. Foods to avoid include:

  • Potato chips
  • Popcorn
  • Bagels
  • Gummies
  • Taffy
  • Caramel
  • Hot or spicy foods, as they can irritate your gums at the implant site
  • Raw carrots, apples
  • Steak
  • Dried fruit
  • French bread or other “extra-crusty” bread products

Avoid chewing ice or biting on pens or other hard objects.

Avoid tobacco and alcohol

To last a lifetime, your dental implants must heal well. Smoking increases your risk of bleeding, and the nicotine and tar in tobacco products can slow healing. Alcohol can also slow healing, and it can interfere with any painkillers or antibiotics your periodontist may prescribe or recommend.

Keep your gums and remaining teeth healthy

Your dental implants are only as healthy as the surrounding teeth and gums. Tooth decay and gum disease can cause infections that put them at risk. They can also cause you to lose one or more teeth, which can lead to loss of bone mass in your jaw – and without strong jawbone to keep your dental implant in place, you may lose it!

Address problems right away

Learn the signs of implant failure and call your periodontist immediately if you suspect that you have a problem with your dental implant. Signs of a problem include pain or swelling around an implant, or a loose implant.

Follow instructions carefully

Your periodontist will provide you with a full set of instructions for taking care of your dental implants. Do your best to follow these instructions immediately after receiving them, and for the life of your implants.

See your dentist regularly

Your dentist can spot problems and complications in their earliest stages, when they are most responsive to treatment. Your periodontist can also provide other helpful tips for taking care of them.

For more helpful tips for maximizing the lifespan of your dental implants, contact Vero Implants and Periodontics. Our Florida periodontist is an area leader in the placement of dental implants in Vero Beach and Melbourne. We can help you keep your dental implants looking and feeling great for a lifetime.