Caring for Your New Dental Implant: 3 Things You Need to Know

Once the area around your dental implant has healed, the metal abutment has been attached to its tip and the prosthetic tooth permanently fitted to the abutment, your smile is now complete, and it's as though the tooth was never missing. This natural look and the permanence of the method are arguably the key appeals of dental implants. Despite the fact that the end result has been designed for longevity, dental implants can require a small alteration to your dental hygiene habits.

1. Toothbrushes

The nylon or nylon-polyester blend of your toothbrush bristles will not damage the prosthetic tooth once it has been attached to the dental implant. The only potential issue is when the implant has replaced a tooth that has been missing for some time. It's a matter of getting used to efficiently brushing this section of your mouth again. If you should encounter any difficulties when using your toothbrush, you might wish to clean the implant (and adjacent teeth) with an end tuft toothbrush. The shape of the device's head in addition to the angle of the bristles gives greater maneuverability so that the section of your mouth where the implant has been fitted still receives proper attention. An end tuft toothbrush should be used in addition to your standard toothbrush.

2. Flossing

Flossing is where you need to pay careful attention to your implant. Once the tissue in your jaw has fused to the actual metal of the implant, it will resemble a natural tooth. However, the shape is subtly different when it comes to the curvature of the base of the prosthetic tooth. The base of the prosthetic tooth is slightly more narrow than a natural tooth so that it can attach to the metal abutment, as opposed to having a succession of nerve endings (the dental pulp) that connect to your jaw. This means an implant should be flossed differently to a natural tooth. While you are unlikely to dislodge the implant using standard dental floss, you might simply find it difficult to achieve the same results as you would when flossing a natural tooth. In attempting to do so, you might even irritate your gums. Consider a different method of flossing, namely a water flossing device. This simply directs a concentrated stream of water through the gaps between your teeth.

3. Toothpicks

While resin composite or porcelain prosthetic teeth are not susceptible to decay in the same way that natural teeth can be, they are not impervious to damage. Scratching the prosthetic tooth can create a ridge in which bacteria can pool, potentially causing periodontal issues in other parts of your mouth. A wooden toothpick is absolutely fine for dislodging small particles of food, but you should avoid hard plastic picks (as well as metal picks). This is simply to prevent the possibility of scratching the surface of the prosthetic tooth that has been fitted to the implant. An end tuft toothbrush can also be effective for removing small particles of food.

While caring for your new dental implant is rather similar to caring for your natural teeth, it's important to be aware of these minor additional requirements.