Like natural teeth, daily home care is imperative for the long term health of dental implants. Some patients do report getting food stuck between a dental implant and a natural tooth, which can lead to gingivitis and gum disease. Common reasons for food entrapment include: an implant that is too small, an implant that is not centered or positioned correctly, a poorly fitting crown, or a crown that is the wrong shape.
In many cases an implant dentist can readily solve the problem, oftentimes with a customized abutment and crown. In some extremely rare cases, removal and replacement with a new implant may be the only feasible option.
Most people with dental implants find it helpful to use an oral irrigator—aka a water flosser, hydroflosser or Waterpik®—which squirts water between and around your teeth. Oral irrigators are relatively inexpensive and can be extremely helpful when it comes to keeping teeth clean and free of food, as can dental floss.
If you have food stuck in your dental implant and can’t remove it by brushing, flossing or using a water flosser, it’s time to visit your dentist as soon as possible, as pain/inflammation/redness are likely to worsen over time and lead to infection, or even the failure of your dental implant.
You may also wish to avoid eating popcorn or seeds, as popcorn kernels and tiny seeds have a tendency to get between teeth or between the gum tissue and implant.
Food doesn’t get stuck under implants per se, but it can sometimes get stuck to or around implants just like it does around natural teeth…
You want to make sure you practice good oral hygiene and keep your implants clean. Many of my patients find it beneficial to use an oral irrigator or hydro flosser. A water flosser or hydro flosser squirts water between your teeth, which can help rinse away any food that gets stuck on or around your teeth.
Some foods are more likely than others to get stuck between your gum tissue and implants. You’ll probably want to avoid eating popcorn and foods that contain seeds, because food that gets caught has the potential to cause gum inflammation, which can lead to infection.
Your implant dentist will give you a list of foods that should be avoided.