If you have dental implants or have considered them, you already know that in many ways, they’re just like real teeth. Since they’re rooted into your jawbone just like your natural teeth are, they have all the same function that your other teeth enjoy: They’re strong, durable, and you don’t have to change your diet or habits to accommodate them. And of course, since they can be custom colored by your dentist to match your smile, they also look just like real teeth, creating a seamless, natural-looking smile.
But many people wonder if dental implants are just like their real teeth in one other key way: Will they stain over time?
Stained Implants — or the Opposite?
Unlike your real teeth, dental implants are specifically designed to resist discoloration. What this means is that people sometimes have the opposite problem: Their real teeth become discolored over time, and their implants start to look “too white” in comparison.
The key to avoiding this is simply to do your best to protect your real teeth from discoloration. This could mean avoiding or cutting down on staining agents, like tobacco products, coffee and tea, and soda. This also means performing excellent, consistent oral hygiene routines at home. To prevent stains, you should be brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
If the damage is already done, don’t despair: Once your teeth have become discolored, you can get a professional whitening treatment to bring them back up to the same whiteness as your implants.
Implants Aren’t Invulnerable
Unfortunately, your implants may be more resistant to discoloration than your natural teeth, but they aren’t invulnerable. It’s still possible to stain your implants if you aren’t careful.
Tobacco in particular can be a powerful staining agent, so if you are a habitual smoker or user of other tobacco products, even your implants could start to yellow under the barrage. In addition, tobacco use significantly increases your risk of implant rejection, so those with implants or interested in implants have a strong incentive to quit.
In general, your implants will be at greater risk of staining if their finish (a protective layer, like the enamel on your real teeth) is damaged or compromised. This can happen if you use abrasive materials on them. While a standard fluoride toothpaste is not abrasive enough to damage implants, some of the “trendy” new toothpastes, featuring ingredients like baking soda or charcoal, could do some damage. If you’re not sure about what toothpastes and materials are okay to use on your implants, your dentist can help guide you.
Overall, dental implants are a reliable, attractive restoration that can can last for decades in a well-maintained mouth. While there are particulars to dental implant care, the most important thing for implants is the same as the most important thing for your real teeth: Brush and floss regularly, and don’t be a stranger to your dentist.