Tips For Maintenance Of Dental Implants
Although dental implants are designed to look and function like your natural teeth, care must be taken when maintaining them to protect against peri-implant disease. For best results, you will have a comprehensive maintenance plan that includes both a home care routine and regular dental exams and cleanings from a hygienist that specializes in implants.
Your dentist and hygienist will instruct you on proper cleaning techniques and tools for home use, answer any questions or concerns you have, and demonstrate proper brushing techniques to clean all surfaces of your implants.
Why Do Dental Implants Need Special Maintenance?
You already know that untreated plaque can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease that can cause gum and bone loss around natural teeth. The same can occur around implants. Too much plaque allowed to accumulate on implants can lead to peri-implantitis, or an inflammation of the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. Unlike slow progressing periodontal disease, peri-implantitis progresses rapidly and can lead to loss of fusion, ultimately causing an implant to fail.
This is why it is so important for careful home care and cleaning of implants, followed-up with bi-annual exams and cleanings with your dentist and hygienist.
Tips For Home Care Of Dental Implants
Both manual and electric soft bristle nylon toothbrushes are appropriate for implants, and there is no reason you can’t use the same brush for both your natural teeth and implants.
Your hygienist may instruct you on certain ways to hold your toothbrush and the best angles for reaching all surfaces, especially the hard-to-reach lingual (tongue side) of the implants. You should hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle where the implant abutment meets the gum and use short, back and forth movements to gently dislodge plaque.
An electric toothbrush can be a worthwhile investment as it has multiple heads and interchangeable attachments that make it easier to reach crevices where a manual toothbrush can’t go.
Brushing should be followed by carefully flossing between each tooth, including implants, and finished with a one-minute rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash.
Professional Care And Maintenance Of Dental Implants
Twice annually, or as recommended by your dentist, you will need to schedule an exam and professional cleaning. Your hygienist will remove buildup of plaque, calculus and stains using special instruments; to preserve the surface of the implants, only instruments made of plastic, nylon, graphite, or ones with a Teflon coating should be used.
Your dentist will then conduct an exam, checking for movement and inspecting the soft tissue surrounding your implants. Probing of spaces between implants and soft tissue will reveal potential periodontal pockets that need to be monitored. Pocket depths that begin to reach 5mm or more are susceptible to bacteria that can lead to peri-implantitis and failing implants.
Bauer Dentistry Can Help You Maintain Your Dental Implants
The professionals at Bauer Dentistry provide comprehensive implant service, and will provide detailed tips for maintenance of dental implants at every visit. Call 630-665-5550, schedule your appointment online today, or visit www.bauersmiles.com to learn more about the benefits of dental implants and how you can maintain them to last a lifetime.
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