It’s easy to want to cut corners with oral hygiene. However, if you want to keep a beautiful and healthy smile, a commitment to effective oral hygiene is necessary. This is especially true when caring for dental implants. Taking the necessary steps to care for your implants and natural teeth is not a friendly suggestion made by your dentist to fill conversation time at your appointments–it’s vital to being able to keep those implants for a lifetime.
Why does it matter so much to care for dental implants?
Caring for dental implants is much like caring for natural teeth. There are many benefits of dental implants, but there are also a few vulnerabilities. Because a dental implant is not completely attached around the gums by a periodontal ligament, like a natural tooth, is it less capable of fighting plaque buildup and infection. The peri-implant crevice also provides a place for plaque to build up when not consistently cleaned. When not cared for, inflammation, infection, and irreversible bone loss can occur, leading to the implant being removed. Thus, regular oral hygiene becomes especially important.
For those who have needed implants due to oral hygiene negligence, they must be committed to maintaining oral care so their implants can last. The same way you would not spend thousands of dollars on a home just to leave it to crumble and fail, so also we do not want to see you invest in a dental implant only for it to dislodge and fail you.
What care is necessary to keep those implants healthy and functional?
As stated above, caring for dental implants can be much like caring for natural teeth. Both regular brushing and flossing are needed, twice a day, to remove plaque buildup. Especially important is brushing and flossing immediately after eating. Recommended tools for brushing and flossing are:
- Low-abrasive, plaque-fighting/tartar control toothpaste
- A soft toothbrush (either manual or electric can be acceptable)
- An interdental brush for between teeth and implants
- Unwaxed or implant-specific floss or floss pick
- An oral irrigator can be beneficial when recommended
In caring for your dental implants, 360 degree cleaning is necessary.
When brushing: With a soft toothbrush, brush all sides and angles of your dental implant, including around, in, and under the peri-implant crevice. Make sure to brush at and just below the gumline, as the dental implant can build plaque in those areas in the same way that natural teeth do. Using a soft toothbrush is required for a dental implant because scratches in the abutment or crown can house bacteria and lead to inflammation or infection.
When flossing: An effective method for flossing around a dental implant is to insert the floss on either side of the implant, crossing floss ends and moving in shoe-shine pattern to clean fully around the implant. Floss fully into the peri-implant crevice, where plaque can build up easily. When using an interdental brush, select a brush that is large enough to brush against the implant when inserted into the peri-implant crevice. Below is a demonstration of how to clean your dental implant with a floss pick and interdental brush:
Visit Your Dentist
Home care should not replace check-ups with your dentist. For individuals with dental implants, regular checkups with the dentist should be scheduled every three to six months for a professional cleaning, and an x-ray examination of the dental implant should occur each year. Both you and your dentist want to see your dental implants remain healthy and functional, so both consistent home and professional care should be included in your dental implant treatment.
In the end, you’re committing a few minutes each day in return for years of healthy implants, saved money, and painless smiles. If you want beautiful, strong, and healthy dental implants to bring back your confidence and comfort, come to Red Cliffs Dental in Saint George, UT. We want to see you smiling and happy, and we will help you on the road to achieving that smile!