Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Depending on the type of implant, they can replace a single tooth, or multiple teeth in a row, to restore bite functionality and improve the appearance of the smile.
Here’s the truth about dental implants:
Implants are highly-advanced, modern solutions to tooth loss and tooth decay. They serve as artificial tooth roots to preserve the remaining bone when teeth are missing. While dental implants are designed to last years at a time, they require regular care and thorough cleaning to maintain their quality and effectiveness.
It’s important to commit to proper care of your dental implants to prevent bacteria and plaque buildup in the implant and in the surrounding gum. Bacteria buildup can cause an infection in the gums and lead to peri-implantitis. (Peri-implantitis occurs when the bone supporting the dental implant starts to deteriorate from infection. When this occurs, removing the dental implant through a surgical procedure is critical for preventing further bone loss.)
Dental Implant Maintenance
Proper care of a dental implant includes regular cleaning. For the most part, cleaning your dental implants is similar to cleaning your natural teeth. Brushing, flossing, and mouth-washing twice daily is essential. (The best mouthwash for dental implants is an antimicrobial, non-alcoholic mouthwash.)
Although, people with dental implants must be extra cautious to remove all food particles and bacteria from their implant and the supporting gums. Here are a few cleaning tools to help ensure a thorough daily cleaning:
- Interproximal Brushes
Interproximal brushes (or interdental brushes) are specially-designed to reach the spaces in between the teeth or dental implants. These specialized brushes are small with a straight brush at the end. This brush can fit between each tooth or implant to remove food particles and debris.
- Quality Toothbrush
You can use any type of toothbrushes (sonic, electric or manual) to clean dental implants. It’s just important that you brush thoroughly, but carefully. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging your implant. When choosing a toothpaste, it’s also important to use a low abrasive toothpaste to preserve your implants.
It’s recommended that patients with dental implants use unwaxed floss or floss specially-designed for implants. Floss material should be gentle with minimal additions (like flavored wax) to maintain healthy, strong implants. When you get your dental implants, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about flossing your teeth with them! The best flossing tool will vary based on the type of dental implant.
- Water Flosser
Water flossers are excellent tools for removing plaque from the teeth, and alleviating inflammation in the gums. (Whether you have dental implants or not, we recommend adding a water flosser to your oral hygiene routine!) These devices use pressurized water to loosen and remove debris between the teeth, below the gumline and between dental implants.
- Sulcus Brush
A sulcus brush is another specialized tool used to clean the gingival sulcus (the area where the gum tissue and tooth root meet). Sulcus brushes help to maintain plaque-free gums by reaching below the gumline. These brushes use super soft bristles to clean dental implants gently, but effectively.
Deep Cleaning Dental Implants
Professional dental implant cleanings are a fundamental part of your dental implant care and maintenance. We use professional dental tools that reach between natural teeth, between dental implants, and around the gumline. We also clean the threads of the dental implants, which is important for preventing infection and ensuring the implant is properly inplace.
These cleanings are similar to scaling and root planing procedures, intended to scrape the plaque from the tooth roots to protect the gums from periodontitis (gum disease).
When you first get your dental implants, you’ll receive deep cleanings regularly. After the first couple of months, you’ll receive regular cleanings with your dentist every 6 months.
We will explain everything you need to know in your dental implant post op instructions. It’s our goal to provide you with the education, resources, and tools that enable you to maintain clean dental implants that keep your smile in its best shape for years to come!
We are here for you! Schedule an appointment with us today.