attractive woman standing on a pier shows off her amazing smile Are you thinking of getting dental implants? If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants are likely the best replacement option for you. They offer many benefits, such as giving you a beautiful smile, letting you bite and chew normally, and always being fixed firmly in your mouth. 

But perhaps the best benefit of dental implants is that they can last a lifetime if cared for properly. What does proper care mean? Some people think that they can neglect dental implants because they can’t get cavities. Dental implants are indeed immune to cavities. Dental implants’ titanium and advanced ceramics don’t develop cavities like natural tooth material. However, dental implants depend on your natural gums and bones for support. For your implants to stay in place, you have to make sure you keep these support tissues healthy. Plus, you have to make sure any natural teeth you still have stay healthy, too. 

Here are some tips to help you keep your support tissues healthy so your implants can last a lifetime. 

Tips for Maintaining your Dental Implants

Your dentist or periodontist and hygienist will advise you to religiously do the following to keep your dental implants in the best condition for the longest time possible:

1. Follow Your Dentist’s Orders

Your implant specialist will create a unique dental checkup schedule as well as a specific care plan for you. To get the best results with your implants and avoid problems like peri-implantitis (inflammation in the tissue surrounding the implant), follow each specific guideline of your dentist’s plans.

Whenever you have care questions, go to your dentist’s specific instructions. If your question isn’t answered, call to talk to your dentist. After all, dental implants are custom appliances, and yours might be different. It’s best to ask the dentist who placed them. 

2. Visit Your Hygienist Every 3 to 6 Months

Unlike regular teeth, implants cannot handle the typical metal cleaning tools hygienists regularly use. You need special and softer cleaning tools for your implants, and you might need cleanings more often than with your natural teeth. Your dentist may require you to see the hygienist as often as every three months. However, people develop plaque and tartar at different rates, so you might still only need to visit your dentist and hygienist twice a year. Ask your dentist what’s best, and be prepared to change your routine as necessary. 

3. Floss, Floss, & Floss!

Flossing with implants is as essential as it is with regular teeth simply because it reaches that narrow space between implants that brushes cannot get.

The proper approach to flossing depends on the structure of your implants and your restorations. For some people, traditional dental floss works best. A proxy brush also called an interdental brush, is better for others. Other times, a water flosser might be a better choice. Be prepared to try different tools. Plus, you might need a combination of techniques to get the best results. 

At each of your cleaning appointments, your hygienist will let you know how well you’re doing and whether you might need to try different tools. 

4. Ask about Mouthwash

Another valuable technique for cleaning around your dental implants is a mouth rinse. This might be a valuable addition to your daily hygiene routine for some people. There are many different types of mouth rinses on the market, including alcohol-based or non-alcohol-based mouthwash. Ask your dentist whether you should use mouthwash and which type is right for you. 

5. Pick The Right Toothpaste

Use a toothpaste that’s designed to provide extra protection for your gums. You need protection against oral bacteria and other gum problems. Ask your dentist for recommendations on good kinds of toothpaste to use with your dental implants.

6. Watch for Signs of Trouble

You are the first line of defense for your dental implants, so it’s crucial for you to keep an eye out for signs of possible complications. This includes any deviation from the expected course of healing, setbacks in your healing, or new symptoms around your dental implants, such as redness, pain, or looseness. Natural teeth have some movement, but dental implants should be firm and have no motion. 

7. Always Give Your Dentist a Visit

Stay in touch with your dentist.  For the slightest pain, discomfort, or questions, always run to your implant specialist before things worsen. The first few months of using dental implants are always the most critical, so extra care is needed, especially against infections around the healing tissues. To learn more about proper maintenance or address your concerns regarding dental implants, please call (619) 656-6785 or contact Irresistible Smiles in San Diego today.