Dental implants give people around the world a highly functional and lifelike replacement option for missing teeth. As advanced as dental implants are, however, they do require slightly different care than natural teeth. Here are three tips to care for dental implants.
1. Avoid Whitening Toothpaste
Products that are labeled as "whitening toothpaste" are not meant to be used on dental implant crowns. Whitening toothpaste contains abrasive silica crystals or hydrogen peroxide to polish and bleach natural enamel. Unfortunately, implant crowns are made of materials like porcelain or ceramic that do not respond to whitening toothpaste in the same way.
Using whitening toothpaste on dental implant crowns can cause discoloration and create small grooves on the surface of the crown. These grooves or abrasions can trap food particles and bacteria and make the crown more vulnerable to staining.
2. Use Products Designed for Dental Implants
Your dental implant brushing and flossing solutions are just as important as the toothpaste you use. An interdental toothbrush can clean dental implants more effectively than a standard toothbrush. Interdental brushes are especially helpful for people with several adjacent dental implants to reach every surface of the implant crowns.
You may also encounter problems using standard dental floss with dental implants. Floss can shred around the base of implant crowns because they are slightly less smooth and more angular than natural teeth. Many dentists recommend using an oral irrigator to floss around dental implants.
3. Watch What You Eat
Dental implant crowns are slightly less hard than enamel, so particularly hard and sticky foods may damage implant crowns. Be careful when you eat foods like candy, nuts, and popcorn.
If you have incisor implants, cut up apples and other hard fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Biting into an apple places incredible torque on the front teeth that can easily crack implant crowns.
You can try to protect your implants by chewing on the side of your mouth where there are no implants. Fortunately, you don't have to quit your favorite foods cold turkey, and if worse comes to worst your dentist can reattach or replace a lost or damaged crown.
The lifestyle changes associated with dental implants are minor, and they are much easier to maintain than braces. You will get used to cleaning and caring for your dental implants quickly, and most dental patients find that the improvements to their smile are certainly worth it!
For more information about teeth implants, contact a dentist near you.