Until scientists come up with a way to allow people to regrow teeth (and they're working on it), dental implants remain the most effective permanent tooth replacement option. A dental implant looks and functions just like a natural tooth, although its root structure is the titanium implant, and the tooth itself is a dental crown. But do you care for a dental implant in the same way as you would a natural tooth? To a certain degree, yes you do, but there's a bit more to it than that.
Immediately After Implant Placement
The required specialized aftercare for a dental implant is most relevant in the period shortly after placement. For some patients, the socket is left empty while bone-to-implant integration takes place, with the dental crown being added later to finish the implant procedure. Some patients are suitable for immediate implant loading (when the prosthetic tooth is added at the same time as the implant). Other patients might receive a temporary prosthetic tooth while bone-to-implant integration occurs, but this is generally only for aesthetic purposes.
During this period directly following implant placement, you will need to exercise extreme caution with cleaning your teeth. For a few days, you might be advised to avoid cleaning around the implant site altogether, even when the prosthetic tooth has been attached to the implant. It's important not to irritate the implant site immediately after placement, but you still need to maintain a high standard of dental hygiene to avoid an infection which might jeopardize the implant. As such, certain considerations must be made.
Cleaning Your Dental Implant
Once the bone-to-implant integration is underway, you will, for the most part, care for your dental implant and its prosthetic tooth as though it was completely natural. While the prosthetic tooth cannot decay, it can still be scratched, so be careful not to brush too vigorously and/or with too hard a brush, as the ceramic prosthesis can be scratched. This creates indentations where harmful oral bacteria can pool, and this can pose a threat to your other teeth. Electric toothbrushes are generally fine, but a sonic toothbrush (with a vibrating head) could be problematic during the integration phase, as the vibrations could destabilize the implant. This is extremely unlikely, but it's a risk that can be avoided.
Ultimately, there are only minor differences between caring for a dental implant and caring for a natural tooth, with most special considerations only being an issue for the short period after implant placement.
Up until a year ago, I did my best to keep my teeth and gums clean. But after securing a new job, I began to work late into the night and didn't have the time or energy to brush and floss before I retired to bed. My busy schedule and poor dental hygiene finally affected my teeth and gums. After experiencing severe pain in several of my teeth, I made an appointment with my dentist. My dentist examined my mouth and discovered three large cavities in my molars. After four long weeks, my dentist finally completed my dental work. I learned a very painful lesson during that time. No matter how busy you are, always brush and floss. I started this blog to inform other people about the importance of good dental care. I hope you find the time to read it. Thanks for visiting.