One of the most annoying problems that many patients have with their dental implants is getting food stuck between the implants and gums. Not only does food impaction feel uncomfortable, but it could also set the stage for bacterial growth and subsequent infection. The constant struggle with trapped food particles can even take the joy out of eating your favorite foods.
While ordinary brushing and flossing can help take care of stuck food particles, there are plenty of other ways you can deal with this common problem. The following offers a few tips for keeping food particles from being trapped between your implants and gums.
Watch What You Eat
Certain foods simply don't play well with dental implants. Popcorn kernels and the occasional husks are notorious for getting stuck between natural teeth and gums. Since dental implants lack the connective tissue attachments that root natural teeth to the gum tissue, it's much easier for these and other foods to become stuck between your implants and gums.
Other foods that can be a pain to root out of tight crevices include small seeds, rice, and sticky candies like taffy and caramel. These foods not only get stuck in your dental implants, but they can also induce premature wear and tear over time. If you can't get enough of your raw vegetables, remember that these foods can also leave behind seeds and other food matter that's easily trapped between your gums and implants.
For the sake of your dental implants, it might be a good idea to avoid these foods or at least consider safer variations. Cooked or steamed vegetables can save your dental implants plenty of wear, plus they're less likely to get trapped between your implants.
Invest in an Oral Irrigator
Daily use of an oral irrigator can help keep food particles from getting stuck between your dental implants and gums. Think of an oral irrigator as a pick that uses a pulsating stream of water to dislodge food particles and prevent plaque buildup. Oral irrigators should be used in conjunction with your regular dental hygiene regimen.
With the proper amount of water pressure, oral irrigators can remove food particles closer to the gum line than physical picks or dental floss. Oral irrigators can also reach places that are difficult for picks or brushes to reach, ensuring more thorough food particle removal.
Oral irrigators are relatively affordable and there are several types to choose from. Your dentist may even have a few recommendations of his or her own.
Have Your Dentist Check Your Implants
If the above steps don't help, you should have your dentist take a closer look at your dental implants. There may be several technical issues that can easily lead to repeated food entrapment. For instance, the use of stock implant abutments can lead to gaps that attract food particles. Using customized implants that are contoured to your unique gum profile can help prevent food particles from finding their way between your implants and gums.
Crown fitment is also crucial for keeping food particles at bay. Poorly fitting crowns can create gaps that allow food particles to collect, leading to infections. Keep in mind that poorly fitting crowns can eventually fail and potentially damage nearby natural teeth. Have your dentist carefully inspect and correct this issue as soon as possible.
Lastly, the implants themselves may not be wide enough to cover the same spaces as the natural teeth they're designed to replace. Adding a porcelain crown over the affected implant can help enlarge the implant and make it fit more comfortably in your mouth. In some cases, however, your dentist may need to remove the affected implant and replace it with a larger one.
For more tips on keeping food out of your dental implants, contact dental offices like Pembroke Pines Dental.