As a permanent alternative to dentures, dental implants can be very convenient and comfortable. Most people who have dental implant surgery recover well and go on to enjoy their new teeth. However, roughly four percent of implants fail to integrate into the mouth, which means dentists ultimately have to remove them. To avoid becoming part of this sad statistic, follow these tips to increase the chance of your dental implants being a success.
1. Quit Smoking — At Least in the Short Term
Smokers are much more likely than non-smokers to experience implant failure. While only two percent of non-smokers have their implants fail, the risk goes up to 16 percent in people who smoke regularly. If you are considering dental implants, making a plan to quit smoking should be your first priority.
Even if you don't have the willpower to quit smoking for good, staying away from cigarettes while recovering from dental implant surgery can help to reduce the risk of failure. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that irritate gum tissues, limiting their ability to heal after oral surgery. The longer you can avoid reaching for a cigarette, the more you improve your chance of recovering well from the implant fitting.
2. Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Along with smoking, poor oral hygiene is one of the primary causes of dental implant failure. Immediately after surgery, you need to keep your mouth clean to prevent infection. Gently rinse your mouth several times a day with salty water, which can suppress the growth of bacteria without irritating your sensitive gums.
As your gums begin to heal, continue to keep your mouth clean by very gently brushing your new implants with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. In the long term, you need to floss and brush your dental implants every day to keep them clean and reduce the risk of bacteria attacking the gums that support them.
3. Take a Full Course of Antibiotics
Dentists often prescribe antibiotics to patients after dental implant surgery. These drugs can help to reduce the risk of infection. To get the full benefit of antibiotics, you need to take the full course that your dentist gives to you. Don't stop taking these medicines early, even if you think you have already finished recovering. If you have side effects from your antibiotics, you need to ask your dentist for advice instead of simply deciding not to take them.