As dentists refine techniques for inserting and maintaining dental implants, these permanent replacements for missing teeth are rapidly becoming one of the most popular forms of cosmetic dentistry. Dental implants often look more realistic than dentures, as well as feel more comfortable in the mouth. However, there is a small chance (around 4 percent) of dental implants failing and needing to be removed. Here are three steps you can take to reduce your risk of dental implant failure.
1. Stop Smoking
If you're a non-smoker, dentists have some good news for you: your rate of dental implant failure is less than 2 percent. On the other hand, smokers have almost a 16 percent chance of their dental implants failing. Therefore, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to maximise the chance of dental implants working for you as a long-term solution.
Even if you can't bear to give up cigarettes forever, you can reduce your risk of complications after dental implant surgery by quitting for two weeks. This smoke-free period allows your gums to heal without the irritating effects of cigarette smoke, reducing your risk of infection. Nicotine patches or smoking cessation therapy could help you to stay away from cigarettes during this time and could even help you quit for good.
2. Keep Your Mouth Clean
Dental implant failure can often be traced to poor dental hygiene. While your implants are healing, you can protect your implants from infection by regularly rinsing your mouth with salt water and gently cleaning around your implants with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. After the initial recovery period, you still need to brush and floss daily to prevent bacteria from building up in the tiny gaps between your implants and your gums. Professional teeth cleaning by a dentist or hygienist can also remove plaque and tartar, reducing your risk of gum disease and dental implant failure.
3. Take Your Medications
If your dentist thinks you have a high risk of infection after dental implant surgery, he or she may give you a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. It's very important that you take all these tablets as instructed by your dentist. Don't stop the course of treatment halfway through, even if you feel well, as this could give infection a chance to set in. If you have any questions about the medications you are taking, contact your dentist's office to ask for advice.