The benefits of getting dental implants to replace missing teeth far outweigh any drawbacks. However, certain downsides can make life less enjoyable for people who do get these dental appliances; in particular, coffee lovers may have to give up their favorite brew after having implants installed. Here are two reasons why your cosmetic dentist may recommend you cut coffee from the menu.
Heat and Metal Don't Mix Well
Dental implants are designed to be durable, capable of withstanding the intense masticatory force exerted on it by the jaw whenever you chew. However, implants are made from a combination of metal and porcelain. As such, they still must obey the laws of thermodynamics.
There are a couple of issues at play when you drink coffee. First, metal retains heat more easily and for longer periods of time than your oral tissues. Therefore, when you drink coffee, any exposed portion of the titanium implant may get hot and burn the tissues surrounding it. Over time, such repeated micro damage may lead to an infection, gum erosion, and/or eventual implant loss.
Second, the heat from coffee can have a negative impact on the porcelain crown as well. Porcelain expands and contracts just like glass. If you drink hot coffee, you must be careful to wait awhile before drinking or eating anything cold, because the shock of swinging from one extreme temperature to another can cause the porcelain to crack.
Coffee Stains Real and Implanted Teeth
Another reason you may want to kick the caffeine habit is coffee stains teeth, both your real ones and your implants. Regardless of how they may look and feel, teeth are not smooth. They contain pits and ridges that can hold onto food particles. If you don't brush your teeth right away, those particles hang around long enough to leave behind stains.
While you can eradicate stains from your natural teeth using over-the-counter products or via a whitening procedure at your dentist's office, these products don't work on crowns of any kind. This means that once your implants become discolored, they're likely to remain so for as long as you have them. It may be possible to replace the crowns with new ones in a lighter shade, but crowns costs anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 apiece. Unless you're independently wealthy and can afford to replace your crowns on a regular basis, it may be better to avoid drinking coffee.
Maintaining Your Coffee Habit
Coffee is a very delicious beverage that offers many health benefits, including increased alertness and protection against the development of certain diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's. So it's completely understandable if you just can't give up your daily cup. Here are a few tips for consuming coffee to minimize the damage and staining it may do to your implants.
- Reduce the temperature and drink warm or cold coffee. Brewed coffee is generally between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, which can lead to heat-related damaged to your implants over time if consumed at that temperature. Wait for your coffee to cool to the recommended 120 to 140 degrees or even lower before drinking it.
- Rinse your mouth after drinking coffee. As noted previously, food particles can get caught in the various pits and cracks in your teeth. One way to prevent this is to brush your teeth after drinking coffee or, at minimum, rinse your mouth out with water. This will help wash away most of the teeth-staining particles and keep your teeth looking whiter for longer.
- Use a straw to drink your coffee. This reduces the amount of coffee that comes in contact with your teeth.
- Don't mix hot and cold beverages or foods. Stick with foods in the same temperature range. If you are eating cold foods like a salad, drink cold coffee.
To learn more about this issue or get tips on taking care of your dental implants, contact a cosmetic dentist, like one from Airport Road Dental Associates.