Flossing is essential for everyone. It helps to clear away bacteria and plaque that get trapped between the teeth, thereby reducing the risk of gum disease, bad breath, and other unpleasant consequences. Even people who have dental implants in Longview aren’t exempt from the need to floss; in fact, oral hygiene is especially important if you have implants. However, you may have to tweak your flossing routine a bit in order to make sure that your new teeth stay healthy and strong. Let’s talk about how you can floss in a way that won’t endanger your smile’s long-term well-being.
When you floss your natural teeth, you have a defense mechanism that prevents you from pushing the floss too far into the gum pocket. If you get a little too aggressive with your flossing, you hit the nerve in the ligament that attaches the tooth to the bone around it. The nerve then sends a pain signal to the brain, which in lets you know that you need to ease up a bit. The ligament is also very strong, so it can keep your teeth in place even if it is subjected to a bit of excessive force.
The bond between implants and your body is a bit more delicate. Rather than having a ligament to attach the implant to the bone, there is a peri-implant seal. If you accidentally break the seal while you’re flossing, you could open the way for bacteria to sneak beneath your gums and compromise your implant’s long-term success. Breaking the peri-implant seal won’t send pain signals to your brain, so you may have little indication that you’re flossing a bit too hard.
The bottom line when it comes to flossing around implants is simply that you need to be gentle. If flossing makes your gums sore or causes them to bleed regularly, you should use less pressure. If problems persist after you change your flossing technique, schedule a checkup with your dentist.
Flossing Beneath Your Prosthesis
Flossing around a single, implant-retained crown is fairly simple; all you have to do is be mindful of the need for gentleness. When you have an implant-retained bridge or denture, however, you also need to floss beneath the prosthetic teeth.
A floss threader is a convenient little device that helps you get the floss underneath the prosthesis. Once the floss is in place, gently move the floss along the gum line so you can remove bacteria and plaque that has accumulated there.
Ask for Help
If you’re a bit nervous about flossing around your dental implants, ask for help! Either your implant dentist in Longview or a hygienist can give you the coaching you need to successfully maintain a fresh, clean mouth. With a bit of practice, it won’t be long before you’re an old hand at flossing around your beautiful new teeth.
About the Author
Dr. David Vaca is a native Texan who earned his DDS from the prestigious Baylor College of Dentistry. He is an experienced dentist, and he and the rest of our team would be happy to answer all of your questions about how to care for an implant-supported smile. To learn more about Dr. Vaca and our practice or to schedule an appointment, contact us at (903) 206-3464.