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Implants: Caring For Your Dental Investment

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With the advanced technologies in the medical industry today, there are many options when it comes to the health and care of your teeth.

The dental field has come a long way since the days of wooden dentures.  Now, we can fabricate a set of very real-looking teeth out of a combination of metal and porcelain, and while they’re not technically permanent, they can last a very long time.  It’s crazy to think that you could have new teeth in one day, but if dental implants are in your future, it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of them properly so they last as long as possible.

Implants are actually made up of two parts: the root and the crown (or bridge).  Most commonly, a metal post is placed into your jawbone and a tooth is then formed and placed on top.  Most insurance companies won’t pay for the procedure, so it’s important to take good care of the investment.

Just after the implant

Coming right off of the surgery, your mouth will be significantly more sensitive, and with reason. Your gums and bone have just been screwed into and need to decide how to handle this foreign intruder. Within a few short days, the bone will begin to heal around the screw, but you’ll be tender for a bit. Soft, cold foods will be very helpful for managing the inflammation, and soup will be easy to consume.

Brushing with your normal equipment may hurt at first, so it’ll be very important to use an antibacterial mouthwash daily to rinse the food particles free as well as take care of the harmful bacteria that will be growing. Keeping the wound clean is crucial during the first few days.

Just like a real tooth

Once everything settles down, though, it’s business as usual.  Brushing, flossing, and rinsing will be extremely important to making sure the implant has the longest life possible.  Poor hygiene won’t be fixed with implants, and in fact will just be a waste of money.  The reality is that dental hygiene is as much about your gums as it is your teeth, so it’s really important to remember to take care of your whole mouth.

If you have never developed a daily habit of brushing and flossing, now is a good time to start. Even though you were able to get new teeth in one day, consistently not caring for them can lead to gum diseases that can cause them to loosen, and no one wants that.

Maintaining your regular visits

After the implant, your regular dental visits will still involve things like x-rays just to make sure everything is still running smoothly. There’s no reason to believe things won’t be fine as long as you’re taking care of everything. Cleanings might take a bit longer because the dentist might need to use different equipment on the implant, but that’s not a big deal.

In the end, you’ll find that caring for implants is pretty much the same as caring for your natural teeth.  Treat them well and they’ll last a long time.  If you've had implants already, what’s your best advice to someone who is considering them?
Tim is a dental student in Florida. He hopes to become an oral surgeon after graduation.

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