Having dental implants inserted into your jaw is the premier way to replace missing teeth. Once your dentist mounts crowns on the implants, the only ones who will be able to tell the implanted teeth are not real are you and your dentist. If you want your implants to remain in immaculate condition, however, you will need to take good care of them -- which you can accomplish by following these guidelines.
1. Clean your gums.
While the implants themselves will not decay or rot like normal teeth, your gums are still at risk for infection if you don't take care of them. And an infection that begins in your gums can soon move into your jaw bone, compromising your implants. A gum infection can also cause your gums to recede, making your implants less attractive.
Continue brushing and flossing your "teeth" twice a day, just as you did before the implants. Use an antiseptic mouthwash to kill additional bacteria between your teeth and along your gum line.
2. Don't open packages with your implants.
Never try to rip open a package, open a jar, or otherwise bite down on anything other than food with your implanted teeth. It is possible to chip the crowns that sit atop your implants. You could also jar the implant screws themselves loose if they are not strongly set into your jaw bone yet. If you think you may be tempted to open packages with your teeth, start carrying a pair of scissors or a knife with you so you have a better option.
3. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
Fruits and veggies are high in nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E, which you need to maintain healthy gums. Healthy gums are less prone to infection and will therefore keep your implants in better shape. Choose smoothies and salads more often, and eat a fruit or veggie with every meal.
4. See your dentist for checkups.
Minor issues with your gums and dental implants are usually pretty easy to address, but if you ignore them, you may have much larger issues before long. See your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and professional cleaning. Follow any advice they may have when it comes to changing or improving your dental hygiene routine to protect your dental implant crowns.
Dental implants are a wonderful invention, and they are strong -- but they're not impervious to damage. Take good care of them, and they'll take good care of you.