Dental implants are a great option for people who have lost teeth and are trying to get their smile back without the use of dentures. They can also be cared for much like your natural teeth. Typically, brushing twice per day and flossing once a day goes a long way to protecting your dental implant. Dental implants typically take 3 to 6 months to heal, during which time the bone grows around the implant, a process called osseointegration.
But some implants fail to integrate with the bone at all. Here’s how you can help ensure your bones heal properly around the implant.
Battling Reduced Blood Flow
It is recommended that you quit smoking before you receive your new dental implant. Smoking has been linked to gum disease. Gum disease can attack your implant the same way it attacks your natural teeth.
What most people do not realize is that even smoking beforehand can slow the healing process. This is because the gums are receiving less blood flow from years of smoking. If you do smoke and you are looking to get dental implants, it is recommended that you quit prior to the procedure. Over time your body will restore blood flow to the gums.
Additionally, if you have having issues controlling your diabetes then it is recommended that you avoid dental implants for many of the same reasons for smokers. Diabetes makes it difficult for any injuries or surgical procedures to heal due to a narrowing or stiffening of blood capillaries, reducing blood flow.
Getting at least moderate exercise to help improve blood flow to the area can also help.
Overcome Bone Problems
As mentioned earlier, your bone is key to the success of your dental implant. Unfortunately if you are not careful, a number of issues can arise that could either prolong the healing process or result in the failure of the implant.
If you are replacing a tooth that has been infected, or if you are replacing a tooth lost due to advanced gum disease, then we will want to resolve your gum disease before placing the implant. Bacteria near the dental implant may mean that it will take longer to heal, but you may ultimately lose the implant.
Some medications can impact bone healing. If you’re currently on medications for osteoporosis, we’ll let you know if you should stay on them, or if it might be better to stop taking them for a while. Certain antidepressants, too, can increase the risk of implant failure.
You can also help your bone heal by ensuring you’re getting all the nutrients crucial to your body’s healing process. Talk to your doctor about the best diet for you, or we can tell you some surprising places to get the minerals you need.
Don’t Mess With It!
After your dental implant is placed, we will evaluate the stability and decide if your implant can stand to have a restoration or if it will need extra time to heal while insulated under your gums. By the time we place a crown on top of your dental implant, it’s stable enough to handle normal interactions such as chewing or closing your jaw for swallowing or stability. But your implant is vulnerable to movement during the healing process. Don’t push, pull, or yank on your dental implant, especially if you think it’s loose. Instead, schedule a follow-up appointment and we will safely evaluate your implant.
Curious About Implants?
With proper care and maintenance dental implants can last a lifetime and can go a long way to restoring confidence in your smile. If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in dental implants, consider paying a visit to Dr. Polley at James B. Polley, DDS. He can answer any questions you have about the procedure and can show you how to properly care for your new implant. If you would like to schedule an appointment please give us a call at (702) 873-0324 today.