One of the many benefits of dental implants is that they are very long-lasting. Most people can expect dental implants will last 30 years with proper care, and dental implants have lasted nearly 50 years in some people. To get the longest life out of your dental implants, start by developing healthy habits.
If you’re considering dental implants now, getting a jump on these habits will help even more.
Good Oral Hygiene
Dental implants are very much like your natural teeth, which means you need to take care of them like natural teeth: brush at least twice daily and floss (or the equivalent) every day.
Dental implants can’t get cavities like natural teeth–the problem is gum disease. Just as gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, it’s the leading cause of dental implant failure. To protect your dental implants from gum disease, you need to clean food debris and plaque from around dental implants.
If you don’t currently practice good oral hygiene, there’s no better time than now to start picking up the habit.
Make Regular Dental Visits
Your regular dental visits are critical to maintaining good oral health. At your cleanings, we will remove hard buildups–tartar–that you can’t remove at home. This will also help us assess your home hygiene routine. Then we can give recommendations for improving your routine, which might include changing the tools you use. If, for example, flossing isn’t cleaning around your implants, we might recommend a water flosser or interdental cleaners.
As part of your checkup, we will inspect your dental implants and restorations. We will make sure the tissue around the implants is healthy. We’ll also make sure your restorations are intact and secure. While dental implants easily last 30 years or more, dental restorations may need to be replaced after 10-15 years, although some can also last 30 years or more.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Just like your teeth benefit from eating a healthy diet, your dental implants will, too. But the requirements are a little different. With dental implants, we are not as concerned about acidic foods, and, while sugar can still be a problem, it is less of a concern–dental implants don’t get cavities.
Instead, we are more concerned that you are getting all the nutrition you need for bone health. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins, especially A, B, C, D, and K. The minerals calcium and phosphorus are also critical to maintain the health of the bones around your implants.
Smoking is perhaps the worst thing you can do for your dental implants. Studies show that smokers have a much higher risk of dental implant failure. Smoking can impact the body’s ability to build new bone. It also increases your risk of gum disease.
When you get your implants placed, we ask that you stop smoking for weeks before surgery and months after. If it’s possible to stop smoking entirely at this time, you will enjoy a longer life for your implants and better experience with them.
Stress is bad for your health overall, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that it’s bad for your dental implants. Even if you can avoid the pitfall of neglecting hygiene when stressed, you will likely be at higher risk for gum disease. Cortisol, the hormone your body releases during stress, can increase your risk for gum disease and increase gum and bone damage from gum disease.
Plus, clenching and grinding associated with stress can damage implants and restorations.
If you want your dental implants to last, try to find ways to reduce your daily stress.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight is associated with a higher risk of gum disease. The exact reasons aren’t clear. It might be related to diabetes risk, since diabetes and gum disease have a reciprocal relationship. However, it might be related to chemical signals released by fat cells–inflammatory triggers. These inflammation triggers can suppress your immune response and make gum disease more destructive.
If you are hitting the gym to help keep your weight under control, don’t forget to bring your water bottle. Staying hydrated is critical to your oral health. Your saliva is your body’s first line of defense against oral bacteria, and if you don’t have enough of it, bacteria will thrive and your dental implants may suffer.
Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is bad for your health in many ways, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it can contribute to dental implant problems. Sleep apnea can increase stress and systemic inflammation, and we’ve already talked about how that can be bad for implants.
One of the big issues for people with sleep apnea is mouth breathing. At night, your saliva production already drops. If you breathe through your mouth, the environment gets even drier, which makes it more favorable for oral bacteria, and your implants may suffer.
Don’t Chew Non-Foods
Dental implants are capable of handling all the foods you enjoyed with your natural teeth. But like your natural teeth they can be damaged if you chew nonfood items. These are so hard that they require bite forces that aren’t good for dental implants. Actually, the implants, which are made of titanium, are plenty strong enough to handle them. It’s your bone around implants and the dental restorations which are more likely to suffer.
Inspect Implants Regularly
Most people with dental implants are put on a regular schedule for dental checkups–once every six months. This is usually frequent enough to head off implant problems, but if you really want to keep your implants in top shape, inspect them at least once a week to see if you notice any redness or inflammation around them. Also report any pain or significant movement you notice from your implants.
Quality Dentistry for Long-Lasting Results in Naples, FL
If you are looking for dental implants in Naples, FL, or other dental restorations that will give you great-looking and long-lasting results, please call (239) 597-7333 or use our contact form today to schedule an appointment with an implant dentist at Massa Dental Center.