Implant Care and Maintenance
Dental implants can potentially last a lifetime when they are maintained with good oral hygiene at home and regular maintenance with your dental health care provider. Continuing your daily routine of brushing and flossing is paramount along with sensible lifestyle choices to maintain overall optimal health.
The longevity of your dental implant will depend on a number of factors, ranging from your lifestyle choices to your long-term commitment to oral hygiene.
“Dental implant maintenance is not difficult, but it is imperative.”
Good oral hygiene involves caring for your mouth and gums, as these are what hold your implants in place. If you fail to do this, the gums surrounding the implants can develop a buildup of bacteria and, even worse, infection. Infection can jeopardise the bone tissue surrounding the implant, which can cause you to lose the implant altogether.
How Long Do Dental Implants Actually Last?
Dental implants are now considered mainstream dental treatment. With a very high success rate and minimal side effects, patients can expect to return to their normal routine immediately after implant therapy. As a general guide, your dentist would expect your implant to remain in service for a minimum of 10 years and can in many cases well beyond that time frame.
Titanium dental implants have evolved over the last several decades. Since the 1960’s there have been numerous studies conducted to support statements indicating titanium dental implants may last many decades. The first patient to have titanium dental implants went on to live a further 42 years with their implants in optimal health and function. Implants have a very high rate of success however on rare occasions implant failure may occur. When issues such as bone loss or infection occur around a dental implant, the longevity may be reduced. It is reasonable to expect a minimum of 10 years of optimal health and function from your dental implant.
After this period of time, due to wear and tear and the biological forces the dental implant is exposed to every day, deterioration of componentry may occur. Risk factors such as smoking and vulnerability to gum disease are two key factors that affect the longevity of an implant. Maintaining optimal oral health at home, scheduling routine visits with a dental hygienist, and a non-smoking lifestyle will maximise the longevity of your dental implant.
– Some pre-existing conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, vulnerability to gum disease, or a smoking habit can affect the health of dental implants in terms of success, complications, and longevity.
So, when it comes to dental implants start with the selection of the right dentist for you. Then by practicing good oral and dental hygiene and looking after your dental implants like your natural teeth you will get the maximum longevity of your implant, which could potentially mean a lifetime.
Importance of the Dental Clinician
– As with all dental surgical procedures, the qualifications, expertise and experience of the performing dentist is important to ensure the successful placement of the dental implant and minimising the risk of failure. A Prosthodontist is a highly qualified dental specialist who will be able to provide you with an optimal outcome.
Tips to Prolong the Life of your Dental Implants
Your implant dentist will help ensure you keep your mouth healthy, but daily implant maintenance will be left for you to do at home. Here’s what you can do to make sure your implants and replacement teeth last.
Immediate aftercare post-surgery
– Immediately following implant surgery we recommend you avoid eating any hard foods that could damage your implant during the healing period. A soft food diet is recommended for 7 days and particular care should be taken for up to 12 weeks after surgery.
Flossing and brushing
– Just like your natural teeth, the long-term health of your dental implants will depend on how well you look after them. The great thing about implants is you can care for them as you do for the rest of your teeth – with regular flossing and brushing. This cleaning will help you avoid a build-up of plaque and should be done at least twice daily. Pay special attention to areas such as the sides of your implants, as this is where food and plaque often build up.
– The durability of your implants will not only depend on the maintenance of your teeth, but also on your lifestyle choices as a whole. One of the main factors that can trigger problems with your dental implants (and overall oral hygiene) is smoking. This is something your dentist may take into consideration when assessing your eligibility for implants at your initial consult.
Maintaining a healthy mouth
– The oral cavity is not mutually exclusive from the rest of your body. It is incorrect to think that if systemic health and general well-being is compromised that your oral health and dental implants are not affected. Your body works as a complete and whole system and you should care for your number one asset accordingly. If you want to maximise the health of your dental implant, make sure you stay healthy and look after yourself.
– Make sure you include interdental brushes as part of your dental implant maintenance routine. These small brushes can be used to remove pieces of food and plaque from around the sides of your implants to reduce chances of gum disease.
– Combined with regular flossing and brushing, antimicrobial mouthwash will help you reduce and eliminate bacteria building up around your teeth implants.
Regular dental visits
– Commit to regular dental check-ups and hygienist appointments. This will help your dentist monitor the progress of your implants while giving your replacement teeth the professional clean they need.
Listen to your dentist’s instructions
– Most importantly, listen to your dentist’s advice on how to maintain your dental implants. Whether it’s avoiding certain foods during the healing process or following a specific cleaning routine, your dentist’s advice is imperative if you want to keep your implants for as long as possible!