If you are planning to have a dental implant installed to take the place of a missing tooth, you may be excited about having your chewing ability and the appearance of your teeth fully restored. Still, there are some precautions that you will need to take to ensure that your dental implant can last a lifetime. Here are a few of them:
1. Be sure to brush and floss your dental implant as you would a natural tooth.
Although a dental implant cannot become decayed, leaving plaque on the device can result in gum problems. In addition, the plaque can affect adjacent teeth and cause them to develop cavities. To clean your dental implant properly, you don't need a special toothpaste or mouth solution. Instead, simply brush and floss the dental implant as you would your regular teeth.
2. Don't bite hard objects.
If you regularly bite on pencils, fingernails, or other hard items such as ice, try to stop by adopting a new habit, like chewing gum, to occupy your mouth in a healthy manner.
The bite pressure formed by clamping down on a hard substance can cause your dental implant to become loose within the jawbone. Once this loosening occurs, the implant may fail. There is no treatment available to restart the osseointegration process with the same implant and cause the implant to restabilize.
After the implant is placed, the fusion of the implant within the jawbone begins and progresses over a period of months. This fusion process stabilizes the device in the bone and causes it to remain secure. Once the implant is loosened, an entirely new implant must be drilled into the jawbone and the healing process must be started over.
3. Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports.
If you participate in contact sports such as basketball, be sure to wear a mouth guard. The guard will protect your natural teeth, but it will also protect your dental implant.
4. Wear a guard nightly if you experience bruxism.
Likewise, people who suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, should wear a mouth guard at night. Since bruxism is unintentional, it often occurs without your awareness of it.
As the teeth grind together, an enormous amount of force is placed on the dental implant. This force can shift the implant out of place. The mouth guard is specially designed to absorb the force of the grinding to protect the implant and your natural teeth.
To learn more ways to protect your dental implants, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area. Find one through an office like Marinak and Glossner, D.D.S., P.C.