Getting dental implants can be life changing if you've been missing one or more teeth for a while. The implants look and function just like natural teeth. For the most part, you should care for them just like natural teeth, too. Brushing and flossing them carefully will help fight off gum disease and prevent decay from affecting the natural teeth in your mouth. In order to keep your implants (and other teeth) in good shape, there are a few other good habits you'll want to stick to once you're healed.
If you're not a smoker, don't start. If you do occasionally smoke, now is the time to break that habit once and for all. Smoking is terrible for the health of your gum tissue and may increase your chances of implant failure. If you need to use a nicotine substitute to help you quit, opt for a nicotine patch rather than gum or lozenges. The gum and lozenges still expose your oral tissues to nicotine, so they're not the safest choice.
Avoid Very Crunchy Foods
Crunching on hard foods like ice and hard candy is not a good idea with natural teeth, either, but it's even more concerning when you have implants. If the implant is not entirely "fixed" into your bone yet, biting down on something crunchy could loosen it and dislodge it. You may also chip the crown of the implant, and since you don't have feeling in the implant like you do in a natural tooth, you may not notice the chip right away. Chipped crowns typically have to be replaced. Though this is not a painful procedure, it can be expensive.
See Your Dentist
It's easy to assume that now that your implants are healed and your teeth look better, you don't need to see the dentist as often. However, this is not the case. Your dentist will tell you how often to return for cleanings and checkups. (Typically, this is either every 6 months or once a year.) It's essential to keep these appointments so that if there are any problems with your implants, they are spotted early. Do not rely on you "intuition" or judgment to tell you when there are problems with implants. By the time a damaged implant or damaged tissue causes noticeable symptoms, it has often been a problem for a while and will be harder for your dentist to fix.
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