Dental implants are now a very common treatment option to replace missing teeth among adults. Implants, which are made of titanium, replace the natural root structure of the missing tooth. They are “anchored” into surrounding bone and tissue and are designed to support the working teeth or dentures attached to the implanted foundation.
It is essential that you practice proper oral hygiene before, during, and after you get your dental implants, to ensure optimal healing and healthy results. Plaque can build up around dental implants, causing bleeding gums, gingivitis, and other conditions that can make the healing process take longer, or cause the implant to fail.
If you have implants, you play a significant role in the success of your restoration and you must be motivated to take care of the implant. Here’s how to provide the best care at home:
- Brush - Brush twice daily to remove bacterial plaque, using a soft nylon toothbrush. You may use a manual or electric toothbrush, but make sure the bristles are soft and pliable, to gently clean the surface of your crowns and implants. Be sure to always brush each tooth surface thoroughly, paying close attention to crevices.
- Avoid Abrasive Toothpaste - Most toothpastes contain fluoride since they are designed for natural teeth. Fluoride does not hurt dental implant restorations. But you should avoid toothpaste that contains excessively abrasive ingredients (baking soda, stain removers, smoker’s toothpaste, etc). Abrasive toothpaste can create wear on acrylic and can remove the glaze on porcelain.
- Interdental Brushes - You may use a nylon-coated interdental brush or proxabrush to clean crevices between teeth, and hard-to-reach areas around your implants and crowns. Use an interdental brush made of pure nylon with no metal wires to prevent scratching the surface of your implants or crowns.
- Floss - There are many types of dental floss on the market, and several types are designed specifically for individuals with dental implants. Flossing daily is important to prevent the accumulation of plaque around the site of each implant. In some cases, you may need to use a floss threader or a specialized type of floss that comes with a built-in threader designed for cleaning around a fixed bridge.
- Oral Irrigation - use an oral irrigator like the Hydro Floss® to help reduce the buildup of plaque around implants. Oral irrigation has been clinically proven safe and effective for use with dental implants and effectively reduces plaque buildup and gingivitis.
- Dental Visits - You must be committed not only to the daily performance of dental hygiene at home but to regular visits to your dentist. It is recommended that you see your dentist every 3 - 6 months for a professional exam and cleaning.