Dental implants and dentures are becoming more affordable every year, which means that more patients are able to replace their damaged teeth and improve their dental hygiene. It’s not just important for health — it has an impact on the patient’s self-esteem as well.
If you’re considering getting either dentures or dental implants, or if you already have them, what steps do you need to take to ensure that you’re taking proper care of them? Check out these five simple denture and dental implant care and maintenance tips to find out.
Focus on Hygiene
This tip applies to both dentures and dental implants. You need to adapt and maintain a healthy dental hygiene ritual to ensure that your gums remain healthy after you obtain your dentures or implants.
Even if you don’t have any teeth left or wear a full denture, it is important to brush your gums and tongue with a soft brush to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and ensure that gum disease is not a problem.
Smoking is a bad habit, but it’s worse if you have dental implants or dentures. Studies have proven that the failure rate of dental implants is much higher among smokers. Smoking causes periodontal bone loss which makes it more likely that the implants will loosen or fall out. It can also increase your chances of developing peri-implantitis – an inflammatory condition that often occurs in smokers or in dental implant patients who do not maintain proper dental hygiene standards.
Plus, smoking causes bad breath and stains your teeth – that’s probably the last thing you want if you just spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on new ones.
This isn’t as important if you are wearing a full denture, but if you still have some of your original teeth left or have dental implants installed, it is just as important. Floss every single day. Sometimes implanted teeth can’t get cavities due to polishing that’s done before installation by using medical silicone injection molding. However, leaving food particles between your teeth still encourages bacterial growth which can lead to gum disease and infections, so make sure you’re flossing either way.
Make it a point to floss every day, either with traditional string floss, floss picks or even by using a Waterpik which removes food residue by spraying water between your teeth at a high pressure.
Care for Your Dentures
Taking care of your dentures is just as important as taking care of your teeth. These appliances are subject to the same bacterial exposure and food residue problems as your own teeth and should be cleaned appropriately.
Dentures should be washed after every meal and brushed with a denture cleaner twice a day. Don’t use toothpaste on your denture. Traditional toothpastes are designed to be slightly abrasive to remove plaque and food debris from your teeth, but this abrasive quality can damage the material used to create your dentures. If you use adhesive to hold your dentures in place, be sure to remove it each night.
Make sure you soak your dentures at night when you’re not wearing them. Most of them are designed to be kept moist to ensure that they keep their shape. You can soak them in water or in a denture solution, but you will want to be sure to rinse off the denture solution before you return the dentures to your mouth.
Keeping your dentures clean doesn’t just ensure that your dentures are in good shape — it can help keep your mouth healthy, too. Dirty or ill-fitting dentures can cause irritation or sores to develop on your gums and can harbor bacteria that could cause infections.
Don’t forget to brush your gums before you put your dentures in and after you remove them. This will keep bacteria levels down and prevent bad breath and gum disease.
Visit a Dentist
This is just general information to help you care for your dental implants and dentures. If you have a concern or have a problem with your dentures or your implants, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist to discuss those concerns with them. Seeking out the help of a medical professional is always the best course of action if you’re having trouble — Google can be a great resource in a pinch but it is no replacement for the advice of a dentist or professional.
Dentures and dental implants are a great alternative to living with damaged teeth that may be causing you pain, but unless you practice adequate denture and dental implant care and maintenance habits, they can cause just as many problems. Keep up with your dental hygiene — and that extends to dentures if you have them. Try keeping your dentist on speed dial so you can consult with them if you’re having a problem. Take care of your teeth — whether they’re real or artificial — and they’ll take care of you for years to come.