If you’ve got an appointment for dental implants on the books, congratulations! Getting dental implants is exciting, especially when you’ve been living with dentures for the past few years. After you get dental implants in St. Augustine from Dr. Kinsey, your world will open up to eating without stress, speaking with confidence, and smiling like never before. However, in order to maintain your dental implants, you have to reevaluate some of the habits in your life. Here are some of the habits you should avoid after getting dental implants in order to extend their lifespan.
Tobacco Product Use
Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco products should be avoided at all costs after your dental implant surgery. Although once you’re healed, you can technically use them again, it doesn’t come without consequences. For starters, the likelihood of your dental implants failing substantially increases with tobacco use.
Additionally, using tobacco products is terrible for your oral health. Every chemical in the tobacco product touches your gums, teeth, implants, and restorations and will result in an increased chance of cavities as well as gum disease. Gum disease is another major contributing factor to failing implants.
If you want to extend the lifespan of your new dental implants, quit tobacco products for good.
After we place your dental implants, it takes your jaw up to six months to fully heal. During this process, a fusion between your jaw bone and the implant occurs. It’s known as osseointegration. Osseointegration is crucial for the health of your implant. Unfortunately, when you drink alcohol during the healing process, it can affect osseointegration and then lead to implant failure.
Once your jaw is completely healed, feel free to consume alcohol in moderation. Just remember that excess alcohol consumption can result in dry mouth which leads to gum disease and potentially cause your implants to fail. Know your limits and don’t drink every day to extend the life of your implants.
While your jaw heals after implant surgery, we recommend sticking to a soft diet so that you don’t accidentally harm your implants. This means avoiding sticky food that will stick to your tooth replacements. Otherwise, it might tug on your dental implant and potentially displace it. After your jaw completely heals, however, feel free to enjoy all your favorite sticky foods! Just take it slow.
Not Brushing or Flossing
You might think that not having natural teeth anymore means that you can ignore brushing and flossing finally. Not true. Brushing and flossing are just as essential with dental implants as they are without dental implants. Brushing your replacement teeth is important for removing plaque and bacteria from your mouth. Without removing the plaque and bacteria, your breath can stink and it can accumulate along the gum line and cause gum disease. If you have any remaining natural teeth, you also need to floss them to remove plaque from between the teeth and under your gum line. Keeping up with good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day will help prevent gum disease and possible implant failure.
Skipping the Dentist
Just like not brushing your teeth, skipping the dentist is a habit to avoid after getting dental implants. You need to make sure your oral health and implants are always in tip-top shape so they last as long as possible. When you visit us every six months or year (per our recommendation), we will clean any remaining natural teeth, examine your implants, and identify and treat any potential problems. This prevents small problems from getting bigger and helps you enjoy your dental implants for longer!
Using Your Teeth as Tools
If you need to open a package and your hands aren’t working out, should you use a pair of scissors or your teeth? If you answered teeth, you’re wrong! You should never use your teeth as tools, especially if you have dental implants. This means no biting your nails, no ripping open packages, no biting ice. Your teeth should only be used for chewing and smiling, that’s it. Using your teeth as tools is a first-class ticket to problems with your dental implants.
Not Wearing Your Night Guard or Mouth Guard
The last habit you should avoid after getting dental implants is not wearing your night guard or mouth guard when you need to. For instance, if you grind or clench your teeth at night, you should wear a night guard. This will protect against damage to your tooth replacements and your dental implants. If you play a contact sport, wearing a mouthguard will protect your implants from getting knocked out or damaged to the point where they fail.
The future of your dental implants is entirely in your hands. Make good choices and avoid the habits listed above after your dental implant surgery. If you have any questions or need to schedule a consultation for dental implants in St. Augustine, FL, please contact us at Palencia Dental by calling (904) 474-5444.