It is imperative to ensure good oral hygiene after placement of your dental implants. Most patients have questions regarding the maintenance and care of their dental implants.
The main concern if you have dental implants is an infection in and surrounding the tooth. Bacterial plaque collects on implant crowns, just as it does on natural teeth and this must be removed on a daily basis at home. Without removal of plaque, an infection can develop, known as peri-implantitis, which can result in a loss of the dental implant.
Unlike inflammation surrounding natural teeth, peri-implantitis can be quite catastrophic – from a dental health perspective – resulting not only in the loss of the implant but also bone loss. So proper care of your implant is important.
Caring for your dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth. You need to brush, floss and go in for regular dental cleanings and checkups as scheduled. Brushing and flossing twice a day is important to prevent the buildup of plaque. Cleaning is especially important after meals. You should gently brush your teeth after meals, ensuring that you brush and floss on all sides of the implant.
Your dentist or oral surgeon may also prescribe certain additional cleaning aids to keep your dental implants, as well the surrounding teeth healthy and clean. Some of these include a small, soft manual or electric toothbrush; tartar-control, non-abrasive toothpaste; and dental floss for cleaning around the abutments.
Other oral hygiene aids can include antimicrobial mouth rinses; inter-dental brushes to remove plaque between teeth, and disclosing tablets to stain the locations where plaque has accumulated. It is also recommended that you visit your dentist every 3 to 6 months for a professional cleaning. Besides this, the dental implants should be examined with an annual X-ray.
Your dental hygienist also has an important role to play in cleaning your dental implant. She needs to select the right tools for the job. The latter will depend on the nature of the debris; the accumulation of either soft or hard plaque or tartar; the location of the deposits; the type of surface on which they accumulate, and how much they stick to the implant.
When you go in for a professional dental cleaning, your hygienist should select instruments that will not damage the crown, the abutment, or the implant itself. It is imperative that your hygienist maintains the highly polished, smooth surface of the abutment and the crown. This is because if they are scratched they can harbor bacteria.
Because of this, the instruments used by your hygienist for cleaning your implants, called scalers and curettes are made of plastics and resins. Natural teeth don’t scratch in the same way as implants do, and so your hygienist can clean them with metal instruments.
Also, a number of power or ultrasonic instruments have nylon or plastic sheaths or tips to minimize implant damage. These clean by high-frequency vibration, which is needed if excessive amounts of debris have accumulated in and around the implants. These instruments can also be used for water irrigation and sometimes, with anti-bacterial solution to clean and flush debris.
While all of this may sound complicated, implants are highly successful and long-lasting. Studies have found that success rates are well above 95%. To achieve this, proper cleaning of your teeth and your implant is important.
At the Harbour Pointe Oral Surgery & Advanced Dental Implant Center, we specialize in dental implant surgery. We treat each patient individually and after an initial consult, we perform the implant surgery, if needed. We also instruct patients on how to care optimally for their dental implants, throughout their lives.
So, if you have missing, cracked, or broken teeth, consult the implant experts at the Harbour Pointe Oral Surgery & Advanced Dental Implant Center.