Caring for your new implant, porcelain crown or bridge
- TODAY: Have a soft diet for the next 24 hours and avoid sticky foods, get used to chewing on this tooth again.
- FIRST FEW WEEKS: The Bite: It is normal for the new implant crown to feel "high" for the first few weeks, as the Implant is connected directly to the jaw bone. If the crown continues to feel high after two weeks, please contact the surgery for a minor adjustment.
- LONG TERM:
Strength: Although much stronger than a normal filling, Porcelain can chip if hit with hard objects such as a fork, nut, ice, bones etc. You'll need to be mindful of this when chewing.
Occlusal Splint/Night Guard: You may need to be provided with an occlusal splint (night guard), which is designed to protect the implant from tooth grinding during sleep.
Decay: An implant will not decay due to its construction being Titanium, however, inadequate cleaning will result in gum disease.
Gum Disease: Whilst an implant is not a tooth, its attachment to the bone can be weakened by gum disease. Good oral care, with brushing and flossing is just as important for your implant as your teeth.
Also, the natural recession of gums with time may mean the junction between the gum and the implant, which is generally under the edge of the gum, may become exposed as the gum recedes. Careful cleaning and flossing will help to reduce the recession.
Health: The survival of your implant can also be affected by your overall health. Conditions of concern include Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Radiation treatment and Smoking.
Maintenance and Check ups:
It is vital the implant crown be thoroughly cleaned and flossed. Most problems with Implants are due to inadequate cleaning and brushing. Also, regular check ups (including x-rays) allow any developing problems to be detected and corrected early.
Avoid using any brushes etc. which have metal in them as this can damage the surface of the Implant.
The bite on an implant needs to be checked every 6 – 12 months. An implant is a rigid structure, therefore if the bite changes and is not adjusted to accommodate this, it can contribute to some of the problems mentioned below.
Common Maintenance Problems:
- Porcelain chip or fracture (4% of cases) This can be smoothed if small of if large it may need to be replaced.
- Implant crown feels loose (7% of cases) The gold screw that attaches the crown to the Implant just needs to be accessed through the filling in the top of the crown and retightened.
- Implant crown falls out (2% of cases) The screw attaching the crown to the implant has broken and needs to be replaced with a new screw.
- Biologic – Implant un-integration - Implant Failure (1% of cases): (the part in the bone) The implant separates from the bone and becomes loose. The only treatment for a failing implant is removal and either replacing the implant or consideration of a different treatment option.
Structural - Implant Fracture (1% of cases): The actual implant breaks resulting in the loss of the implant which is due to excessive load and it will need to be replaced.