Regular oral hygiene is important in maintaining good oral health. This applies to dental implants as well. As with our teeth, keeping the implant surface clean and free of plaque will lead to healthy inflammation-free gums. This will ensure that the implant will stay strong and healthy for a long time. Healthy mouth, healthy body.
Dental Implants and Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is necessary to maintain oral health. This is especially true in the presence of dental implants. Because implants are made out of titanium or ceramic material they do not form cavities. However, they are prone to bone loss. Inflammation of tooth supporting tissues with evidence of bone loss around the teeth is referred to as periodontitis. Presence of inflammation in implant supporting tissue, gingiva and bone, with presence of bone loss is referred to as periimplantitis. Periimplantitis is often seen in patients with poor oral hygiene.
Even though the importance of oral hygiene may not be stresses by the surgeon, in most cases after osseointegration or fusion of the implant with the bone, keeping the dental implant clean and healthy is the number one determinant of long-term implant success. Placement of a dental implant is a short and simple process but maintaining it throughout life can pose more of a challenge. This is especially true for patients who have not practiced good home care most of their life. Dental implant has to be thought of as an investment, which provides good oral and general health as well as a pleasing appearance. Let’s go into more detail about oral hygiene and dental implants.
Dental implants, and implant restorations are cared for in the same manner as our natural teeth. The main goal of oral hygiene is plaque removal. Brushing away the plaque from the surface of the crown or implant, especially focusing on the area around the gum line is critical. Eliminating the plaque, which occurs between the teeth is accomplished by flossing. It is also important to regularly check the implant assembly for any movement. If your implant becomes lose you should contact your dental office immediately. It is difficult to determine if the connection between the crown and the implant is lose or if the whole implant is lose in the bone. Your dentist will obtain a radiograph (x-ray) and be able to evaluate the implant.
The motto for dental implant patient’s home care is “floss, brush, and wiggle.”
Manual soft toothbrush and toothpaste is recommended. An electric toothbrush can be beneficial because it is more efficient in plaque removal. Regular floss is adequate in most situations. In instancees where large spaces exist between dental implants or a dental implant and a natural tooth, yarn, post implant care kit (Butler GUM), and superfloss (Oral B) are recommended in place of floss. These products are very efficient at plaque removal and are easy to use. They should also be used in situations when dental implants are splinted together with a dental bridge or other prosthesis.
In instances where a proxybrush or any other type of interdental brushes are used care must be taken to ensure that the wire that holds the bristles is nylon coated. This will protect the titanium or ceramic surface of the implant from being scratched by the wire. Scratching the implant surface will create microscopic grooves that will harbor bacteria and cause localized inflammation.
Brushing and flossing around an implant is just as important as oral hygiene around natural teeth. Good plaque control will lead to long-term stability of the dental implant and natural teeth and provide a lifetime of good oral health.