Getting a dental implant can be pretty exciting. It's so nice to look in the mirror and see a natural-looking tooth where you used to be missing one. If you want to retain that perfect smile, though, you will need to keep caring for both your natural teeth and the implant. Here are some ways to take care of your teeth.
Switch to a softer toothbrush.
Especially when your implant is new, you may be a little apprehensive to brush around it for fear of irritating the tissue. You are more likely to do a good job of brushing the implant and the surrounding teeth if you switch to a softer toothbrush. There is really no need for a brush with harsher bristles; they cause more irritation, and they don't clean any better. As long as the brush carries the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval, you can count on it to do a good job — and many ADA-approved brushes have really nice, soft bristles.
Thread your floss.
It is important to floss around the implant and the neighboring teeth. Even though you can't get a cavity in the implant, if plaque and tartar build up around it, you will be prone to gum disease — and unhealthy gums cannot support an implant. It can be painful to pull the floss out from between teeth near the implant when your gums are first healing. Try instead threading the floss in and out between your teeth. This still cleans the area and is much gentler.
Limit your intake of alcohol.
It's best to avoid alcohol while you are still healing from your dental implant surgery, and even for a few months after everything appears to be healed. Alcohol can perpetuate dry mouth, which increases the risk of gum disease, and you really don't want gum disease when your implant is new or beginning to heal. Alcohol also slows down the healing process. Your implant may look healed, but if the jaw bone is still fixing itself to the below-gum portion of the implant, then drinking alcohol may slow down that progression. A drink here and there is probably okay (although you should check with your dentist to be sure), but much more than that is not ideal.
If you take good care of your dental implants, they will take good care of you. Talk to your dentist for more tooth care advice!