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How to Care for Implant Crowns
When patients need dental implants to replace damaged or missing teeth, implant crowns can be placed over an artificial root to allow the patient to resume normal activities and to improve the appearance of the mouth. Getting implants can be a lengthy process, but many patients find it worth it to have a functional replacement tooth. To continue receiving the full benefits, it is important that patients continue caring for crowns long after the procedure is over. Continue reading for tips on how to care for implant crowns and learn the benefits of proper maintenance.
Caring for crowns following the procedure
Directly following surgery, care for implant crowns by keeping the mouth clean and sticking to a soft food diet. Using warm saltwater mouthwashes can help speed up the healing process. Patients should refrain from smoking until the site is completely healed and avoid hot food and drinks for at least a day. Regular brushing and flossing are essential for keeping the implants in good condition and preventing implant loss. Patients should also attend all follow-up appointments and see a dentist at least every six months.
The importance of long-term care for implant crowns
Proper maintenance of implants is essential for allowing the root and crown to last as long as possible. Neglecting to properly care for implant crowns can result in several negative consequences:
- Oral mucositis
- Gum disease
- Staining and discoloration of the crown
- Crown cracks or fractures
Avoiding and treating peri-implantitis
The most serious of these consequences is peri-implantitis, which is a type of infection that causes the gums around an implant to become inflamed and can result in loss of the alveolar bone. While the only way to treat this condition is through a bone graft, mucositis is a precursor to peri-implantitis and can be reversed by removing bacteria from around implants through proper brushing and using antimicrobial mouthwash. Common symptoms of this condition include bleeding, soreness, redness and swelling of the area.
Preventing cracks and stains
Porcelain implants are naturally stain-resistant, but discoloration can occur if damage occurs to the glazed finish on the implants. To prevent this from happening, harsh materials such as baking soda or silica should be avoided. Staining can also happen along the gum line due to the bonding material used for implants. Dentists can clean this area to minimize discoloration.
Other possible causes of staining include smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking dark beverages such as coffee or red wine. Patients can avoid breaking porcelain crowns by refraining from biting fingernails and chewing on ice or hard candy.
While implants do not require much care beyond what is generally required for normal teeth, maintenance of the area is extremely important. Proper care can extend the life of implant crowns for many years, and patients are less likely to experience issues when properly removing bacteria from the mouth. Patients should also regularly visit a dentist to find any potential issues early and to have the implant site thoroughly cleaned.
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