You may have struggled with gum disease, dental decay or an accident that resulted in loss of some or all your teeth. You researched your dental treatment options and with the help of your dentist you decided dental implants were the best choice for you. You invested a considerable amount of money, time, and effort in them.
In this article, we are going to advise you on how to protect your dental implant investment through the very latest dental implant home care methods. We’ll also let you know how your dentist and dental hygienist will partner with you to assure that you will have the best implant experience possible, for a lifetime of satisfaction and healthy smiles.
It might not surprise you that one of the biggest reasons dental implants fail is because of poor dental implant home hygiene. Old habits are hard to break sometimes.
If you get nothing else out of this article, remember that it is up to you to take care of your implants. If you originally lost your teeth through decay or gum (periodontal) disease because of poor oral hygiene, it is imperative that you develop new habits. Your dental team can help and advise you, but once the implants have stabilized, impeccable home oral hygiene practices are essential.
There are two pitfalls that patients should be aware of when first beginning to take care of their implants.
- Being too timid with oral hygiene practices. Some patients may be afraid that they may damage the implants and gum tissue. This results in inadequate brushing and flossing. Failing to remove plaque and dental debris from around the implants can cause an infection around the implant (peri-implantitis).
- Being overzealous with oral hygiene practices. Some patients may go the other way and over-brush and over-floss their implants along with using other oral hygiene aids that may not be appropriate. In this case, damage might occur from possible scratching of the implant surface and irritation of the gum tissue surrounding the implant(s).
Your dentist or dental hygienist will help instruct you during one of your initial visits on the proper pressure, methods and dental cleaning aids you will need to properly remove plaque and debris from your implants. They will also advise you on specific dental hygiene practices if you have:
- Natural teeth with implants
- Overdentures/partial dentures with implants
- Overdentures/partial dentures with implants
Home Care Hygiene Specifics
- Toothbrushing: Implants need to be brushed twice a day using either a soft toothbrush or a very gentle electric toothbrush. Smaller end tufted toothbrushes can be used in harder to reach areas. Some electric toothbrushes may be too harsh for implants, so ask the advice of your dentist.
- Flossing: There are various types of floss. Your dentist or hygienist can advise you of the appropriate type to use in your case.
Ask your dental hygienist about ‘floss threaders” and the “shoe shine” method of flossing as well as the regular method of utilizing dental floss.
- Interdental Cleaners/Aids: These oral hygiene devices are used in between teeth (interproximal) where tooth brushing and flossing do not effectively remove dental plaque and food debris. They include:
- Foam/rubber tips
- Disposable wooden picks
- Interproximal brushes with plastic wires
- Water Irrigators: Water irrigators can be very effective in home care for dental implants. Direction of the jet stream of the irrigator is important and your dental team can instruct you in the proper use of your irrigator.
- Dentures: Patients who have overdentures/partial dentures should give their dental appliances the same high degree of hygiene they give to their implants. Dentures should be soaked in a recommended cleaner, brushing the denture thoroughly and inspecting the retention rings and/or retention clip.
Your dentist may recommend that you use a chemical rinse such as chlorhexidine. These rinses help keep oral bacteria rates low and many of the dental hygiene aids such as an interproximal brush can be used to deliver chemical rinses into and around the implant to further reduce harmful bacteria.
Working with Your Dental Team
Impeccable home care is essential, but even with the best home care, your dentist and dental hygienist are indispensable in the long-term success and protection of your investment. It is important that you schedule maintenance visits at least twice a year. At that visit you will receive:
- A cleaning (prophylaxis) of your implants by your hygienist or dentist to remove hard deposits (calculus). Special cleaning instruments are used that will not scratch the implants.
- A check of how your implants are fitting together (occlusion).
- A check to make sure your implants are secure in the bone and not movable.
- X-rays to check the bone surrounding the implants.
- Helping you with any difficulties you may be having with your dental implant home care.
When it comes to investments. We all want to assure that we receive the very best return. Tooth and Go dental clinic has been awarded “The best dental clinic in the Philippines” by the Global Clinic Rating service. (2016).
“At Tooth and Go dental clinic, we are confident that using cutting edge technology allows us to provide our patients with the best possible treatment they deserve.”
We understand the amount of time, money and effort you put into maintaining your oral health.
Besides offering dental hygiene services and information to protect your dental investments, we also offer quality and affordable implants along with general and cosmetic dentistry.