Dental implants can be a boon for patients who are missing a tooth here or there but who otherwise have a healthy oral structure. One of the most unpleasant things that can happen after they are installed, though, is having food get stuck in them. Not only does this look unsightly, but the food can also cause discomfort for you. Below, the Dupont Dental team shares a few tips for dealing with this common problem.
Using an Oral Irrigator
While taking care of your dental implants shouldn’t be any more difficult than taking care of your natural teeth, there are ways to make it easier. Flossing regularly is one reason, but doing so does have its limitations. For example, to be effective at flossing, you need to have the manual dexterity to maneuver the dental floss to get food out of all the hard to reach places in your mouth.
Another drawback to flossing is that you might not know the proper technique to use, so you skip it altogether. Flossing is also limited in the area that can be reached. Using an oral irrigator can help remove food debris that’s under your dental implant and provide instant relief.
Oral Irrigator Basics
It’s likely that you’ve heard of an oral irrigator though you might know it by another name. A “water pik,” “water flosser” and “hydroflosser” are all names of an oral irrigator. Most models have a reservoir that is filled with water. A hose is then directed at different areas of your mouth, and the water from the reservoir is squirted inside.
It’s important to charge up the oral irrigator before using it to get the full effect from it. A relatively inexpensive dental tool, an oral irrigator is an effective way for patients with dental devices, such as dental implants and braces, to keep their teeth clean and free of food debris. Many models feature different levels of pressure so that the user can customize it to suit their needs and preferences. Also, there is often a feature that allows you to pause the pulsing of the water so that you can switch the location of the stream of water or angle it better.
For most people, finding an oral irrigator is quick and easy. Available in many drug, grocery and department stores, prices range from around $30 and up with some models costing as much as $100. For most purposes, though, a model in the middle price range — around $60 — will be sufficient for your use.
Reasons for Keeping Your Dental Implants Clean
As we mentioned previously, there is the perception that it can be difficult to keep dental implants clean. In fact, many patients can find the process intimidating, and they might even avoid it altogether. The reality is that keeping your dental implants clean is no more difficult than keeping your natural teeth clean. The reasons for doing so are also much the same as well.
While the fact that food collects around your dental implants is not an uncommon occurrence, some people may experience more difficulty than others. Another possibility is that you might experience more issues with food getting stuck in one implant but not another. One reason for this difference could be because of the natural way that your teeth fit together in your mouth.
If food gets stuck to your dental implants or near the gumline, it could cause your gum to become inflamed and red. If they aren’t removed promptly, this food can lead to your gums becoming infected due to an increase in the bacteria. Not only does the collected food introduce bacteria of its own, but it can also lead to an increase in the number of bacteria that your dental implant is exposed to. This can overwhelm your body’s defenses and quickly lead to an infection.
Food that is stuck between your dental implants and your gums can also lead to impaction. This potentially more serious condition generally occurs when food debris or particles are forcefully wedged in those spaces. You’ll usually notice more inflammation and pain if there is food impacted. Also, when you bite onto the dental implant that’s affected, you’ll experience more pain. Even worse, the food will continue to be forced more firmly into the space.
What Should You Do if You Have Food Stuck in Your Dental Implant?
If you have food stuck in your dental implant and you aren’t able to remove it using dental floss, toothbrushing or an oral irrigator, it’s time for you to seek out professional care. If you are experiencing pain, inflammation and/or redness in the gum area surrounding your dental implant, this also warrants a visit to your dentist. It’s important not to put off making an appointment with your dentist if you are having this kind of issue with your dental implant. Also, if you are experiencing any kind of pain, discomfort or change in how the dental implant feels, you need to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Like most other health issues, pain, inflammation, and swelling in the area near your dental implant is a condition that will only worsen over time. Quick intervention by your dental professional can not only relieve you of your pain and discomfort; it can help prevent the failure of your dental implant.
At Dupont Dental, your comfort and health is our top priority. We work closely with you to determine the best options for oral health to meet your needs. We encourage you to keep all your scheduled appointments so we can find and address any issues that might arise before they get worse. Contact us today if you need any assistance with your dental implants or if you have any other dental health issues.