Whenever possible, dentists take measures to avoid tooth loss in patients. Root canals, crowns, fillings, and routine cleanings can help you retain your natural teeth. However, extractions are sometimes the best option for patients. It's not uncommon for people to choose dental extractions because it is the most cost effective option. If you've had teeth pulled in the past and you're tired of wearing partial or full dentures, dental implants can restore your teeth, doing away with the need for dentures. When properly cared for, dental implants can last decades. Here are some tips for implant care:
1. Keep gum disease at bay.
Gum disease can lead to infection, which is one of the leading causes of failed dental implants. Fortunately, gum disease is highly preventable and treatable. You can take steps to keep your gums healthy by brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly every day. If you aren't sure that you're using the proper technique, you can find instructional videos online or simply ask your dentist. Using an antibacterial mouthwash can further help by loosening food particles and bacteria that even floss can't reach.
2. Look after the health of your entire body.
The various parts of your body are all interconnected. The health of one part of your body affects the health of every other part. Certain diseases can make it more likely for your dental implants to fail. Diabetes and certain heart diseases can compromise your circulation, making it more difficult for your gums to heal after dental implants. Make sure you attend your annual physical exams and take steps to keep your whole body well.
3. Attend your post-operative checkups.
After your dental implants are finished, you will still need to see your dentist for regular checkups. They will make sure no decay is visible and that your implants aren't bleeding after they've healed. They will also take x-rays to check that your jawbone is growing around the titanium implant as it should. While it might be tempting to skip these checkups, especially if everything feels fine, preventative care is an important way to maintain the longevity of your implants.
4. Never ignore teeth grinding.
If you wake up in the morning with sore teeth, you may suffer from a condition called bruxism. People with bruxism grind their teeth at night while they're sleeping. This can wear down your teeth faster, leading to all sorts of problems in the future. Dental implants are not immune to the negative effects of bruxism. If you notice that you're grinding your teeth, you should see your dentist for a custom fitted mouthguard that will protect your teeth as you sleep.