With proper care, your dental implant restoration can last as long as your natural teeth. Your ASIRD dental team is positioned to provide you the support needed for proper implant maintenance. Good dental hygiene is essential to your oral health in general. Dental implant hygiene and maintenance is equally important. Just as your teeth need regular brushing and flossing, dental implants require that same regular care. Although implants are not susceptible to decay, the gum tissue surrounding the area can develop periodontal disease known as peri-implantitis. This localized inflammation may result in loss of bone support around your implants. Your ASIRD dental team will show you the proper techniques for keeping the tissues surrounding your implant healthy. Depending on the specific type of restoration, your ASIRD dentist may ask you to use additional hygiene aids to keep your dental implants clean and the gum tissue healthy.
Dental Implant Check-up
Like your natural teeth, your dentist will check your dental implant at your routine dental visits. Good hygiene, periodic visits to your ASIRD dentist, and proper maintenance will provide you with an esthetic, functional, and trouble free dental implant. The frequency of these visits will depend on your hygiene and the type of restoration. Multiple teeth implant appliances may require more frequent check-ups.
The gum attachment to natural roots is different than the gum attachment to the implant. Unlike natural teeth, dental implants don’t have periodontal pockets. For this reason, your hygienist will not use the gum (periodontal) probe around your implant to monitor gum disease or perform a deep cleaning around the implant. When the hygienist does clean around the area, they will use specialized instruments that will not scratch the implant surface.
To evaluate bone around your implant, your dental team will obtain a radiograph. Periodic radiographic evaluation is the best way to monitor the condition of the bone supporting the implant.
As part of your check-up, your dentist will confirm that the restoration is securely attached to your implant and in proper occlusion. Loose connections may alter the bite, damage the implant connection and cause bone loss. For larger restorations, your dentist may remove the prosthetic teeth for cleaning.
FAQ for the restored implant
Do I need to use a special brush?
No. A soft bristle brush should be adequate. However, there are a number of electrical toothbrushes available that can be more effective and efficient. Selection of the appropriate electrical toothbrush and proper use is important to prevent injury to the supporting gum tissue. An electrical toothbrush can be especially helpful for patients that have difficulty with brushing movements. Please consult with your ASIRD dental team to select the brush that is right for you.
What dental floss should I use?
The dental floss you currently use for your natural teeth should be adequate, unless you have multiple implants that are connected together. Flossing under multiple teeth restorations and between implants is critical to maintaining good oral health. Threading floss can be accomplished with floss threaders or specialty floss, which has a built in threading end; certain yarn-like floss can be very effective. A cone shaped brush can work well with floss as it allows you to clean under and around multiple implants. You should practice using different types of floss in order to create an effective routine that works for you.
Do I need a night guard?
Night guards are designed to reduce the trauma caused by night habits such as clinching and grinding. These are patient specific appliances fabricated by your dentist. Your ASIRD dentist will discuss if a night guard is right for you.
Should I use a water pick? A water pick can be an effective addition to your hygiene routine. With the ever-expanding number of implant patients, there are implant specific water picks available with features that help patients clean around their implants.
Post Surgical Hygiene & Maintenance
Your surgeon will often will place a healing abutment onto the implant, which is exposed to the oral environment. To allow bone to attach to a freshly placed implant, the implant-healing abutment must be allowed to heal undisturbed. Do not eat or chew on the exposed healing abutment. The implant healing abutment should be gently cleaned with a soft brush and toothpaste. If you prefer to use an electric toothbrush, turn the motor off when cleaning the exposed healing abutment as the vibrations may prevent implant healing. You can use any toothpaste or mouth rinse.
If your dentist places a temporary tooth attached to the implant the day of surgery, brush, floss and clean the tooth like a regular tooth. However, like an exposed healing abutment, the restoration can’t be used to chew foods. When using an electric toothbrush, the motor of an electric toothbrush must be turned off when brushing the temporary restoration. Your dentist will fabricate and deliver a temporary tooth that may be slightly shorter than a natural tooth. This prevents contact on the temporary implant tooth during implant healing. Once the implant has healed, the final restoration will be fabricated and adjusted to the proper size and fit and look like a natural tooth.
FAQ for freshly placed implants
What can I eat?
It is important to maintain a soft diet until instructed by your surgeon. You should not chew on the side of the exposed implant healing abutment during implant healing. Once healed, your surgeon will test the implant and release the implant to be restored by your dentist. At that time, it will be safe to chew on the exposed healing abutment or temporary tooth attached to the implant.
How do I keep the new healing implant clean?
Gentle brushing with a soft brush and toothpaste is acceptable. You may rinse with antiseptic mouth rinse, use a water pick at a very low water pressure setting, or brush with an electric toothbrush with the motor turned off.
After surgery, how soon can I get my teeth cleaned or have other dental work?
After your post surgical evaluation, typically two weeks following surgery, you can undergo other dental work including a dental cleaning. It is important to remind your other dental health care providers of your recent implant surgery.