Proper care and cleaning of dental implants will extend the life of the implants and improve their functionality. When not properly cared for, dental implants are susceptible to a condition called peri-implantitis, which causes severe inflammation and swelling of both the hard and soft tissue that is located around the implants. By properly and thoroughly cleaning implants on a regular basis, you reduce your chances of developing peri-implantitis exponentially. Regular care of your dental implants will ensure that your bright, vibrant smile will last for many years to come.
In the United States alone, more than 3,000,000 people have chosen dental implants with an additional 500,000 people being added to this number each year. Implants are a popular choice because they feel, appear, and function like real, natural teeth due to the fact that they actually bond with the natural bone. It is important to know how to properly care for your specific type of implants. If you have all-on-four implants, these are the steps you will want to take in order to keep them, and your entire mouth, in excellent condition:
For your all-on-four implants, you will want to use a good quality soft-bristled toothbrush. Soft bristles will treat your gums gently so as not to cause injury or bleeding. Many people are unaware that a soft-bristled toothbrush is just as effective at cleaning the teeth and the mouth as a medium- or hard-bristled one. n even more effective choice to safely and thoroughly clean your all-on-four implants is a soft-bristled electric toothbrush. These devices provide a greater number of brush strokes than manually brushing can, therefore electric toothbrushes are able to loosen, break apart, and remove more plaque and bacteria from the teeth.
An oral irrigator works to remove bacteria from the “pocket” areas around teeth as deep as 6 millimeters. These types of flossers are also called water jets or water flossers. This oral hygiene tool comes with a set of attachments that stimulate the gums while thoroughly cleaning the sensitive tissue, including the areas between teeth that can be difficult to reach. Professionals recommend that these types of flossers be used instead of traditional dental floss. This is due to the fact that regular ribbon type dental floss can leave minute pieces of itself behind which can result in peri-implantitis. Remember to use your oral irrigator prior to brushing your teeth so that you don't wash away the fluoride provided to your teeth by your toothpaste. Use your oral irrigator on the low or medium setting. The high setting could potentially cause damage by causing gum tissue to separate from the implant.
Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice daily. Most people brush first thing in the morning and before bedtime. Those with dental implants often choose to also brush after every meal as well as to prevent plaque buildup and bacteria in order to decrease the possibility of developing peri-implantitis.
For those who choose to use traditional dental floss, it is best to use the type that is specifically designed for use with bridges and crowns. It has a fuzzy middle that is encased between two firm nylon ends. This design cleans the surface of the implants as well as the area of porcelain at the gumline. Crown and bridge floss can be used following brushing but before rinsing the toothpaste from the mouth, which helps the fluoride from the toothpaste to reach the area all around the implant.
Some kinds of toothpaste are formulated with abrasive ingredients. This is especially true of the ones that are made to remove stains or those that contain baking soda. Abrasive ingredients can breakdown the acrylic and glaze used to create porcelain implants. There are a number of brands of toothpaste that are specially formulated for use with dental implants, and these are recommended by professionals.
It is easy for food particles to become trapped beneath the gum line around dental implants. This can lead to the development of plaque and bacteria. The presence of these unwanted substances can cause peri-implantitis. Thoroughly clean all areas of your implant crown(s) with a water flosser, floss specifically designed for use with crowns or bridges, and a soft-bristled toothbrush with an angled neck or a slim headed interdental brush these brushes are especially helpful if implants are in the back of the mouth.
Rubber tip stimulators can be found on most oral irrigators. These can be used to clean in between the teeth and below the gumline. Use the stimulator at least once daily.
A number of people use a sulcus brush on their implanted teeth. It is about 1/3 of the width of a basic toothbrush. It is especially good for cleaning the tooth at the point where the bridge meets the soft gum tissue.