Maintaining Your Dental Implants

Dental implants are an excellent way to replace missing or broken teeth. Given proper care, an implant can last the rest of your life, and you may only need to have the crown that attaches to the metal implant replaced every 10 to 15 years. Implants do require proper care to stay intact and looking great.

Like natural teeth, dental implants require regular proper cleaning to remove plaque, food, and tartar buildup. If you don't already, start brushing your teeth at least twice a day and make sure to brush all sides of your implant to prevent it from getting stained. Brushing after every time you eat or drink liquids with high staining potential, such as coffee, is preferable if you're able to do so. Steer clear of highly abrasive toothpastes and choose a smooth paste with tartar control. You can use a manual or electric toothbrush, but opt for softer bristles rather than very stiff ones. 

Proper flossing technique is vital when you have a dental implant. You should floss between all of your teeth once daily, but take extra care around your implant to prevent infection. The best way to floss is to wrap the string around the back of your tooth and then cross the string in front so that you form a loop around your tooth. Pull the floss firmly but gently back and forth similar to a shoe shining motion.

Antimicrobial mouth rinses help keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean and can be good for rinsing around your implant to prevent bacteria from accumulating, which can lead to infection. Regular dental visits for an exam and professional cleaning are particularly important when you've had dental work done, such as having implants placed. Make an appointment to see your dentist every 3 to 6 months for a cleaning. Most dentists will X-ray your mouth once a year to check your implant and make sure it is still anchored properly and the surrounding bone is healthy.

Neglecting proper oral hygiene when you have a dental implant can lead to a serious infection that could cause your implant to fail. If you notice bleeding around your implant, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Bleeding is often the first sign of a problem, and your dentist may be able to treat it successfully. If the bleeding continues and progresses to bone loss (a condition known as peri-implantitis), there is nothing your dentist can do to reverse the bone loss, and you may have to have your implant removed entirely without the option to have another one inserted.

Consult your dentist if you have any questions or issues relating to your implant and make an immediate appointment if you experience any signs of an infection, such as swelling, pain, or tenderness around the implant site. Visit sites like to learn more.