Are You Cleaning Your Dental Implant Properly?

Are You Cleaning Your Dental Implant Properly?

Dental implants are an excellent choice when it comes to replacing your lost tooth or teeth — they look and feel more natural than any other treatment option, which may account for their surge in popularity. More than 3 million Americans already have dental implants, and about 500,000 join them each year. 

In addition to their natural look and feel, dental implants also preserve your bone health by stimulating new bone cell growth and preventing the inevitable atrophy that occurs when a tooth goes missing. 

Dr. James Butler, our dental implant specialist here at Innovative Dental Ideas in Hilliard, Ohio, is one of the country’s leading authorities in noninvasive, minimally invasive, and complex, multiple-implant procedures. Here, he offers several practical steps to take to make sure your new implants last a lifetime. 

My new implant feels perfect — what could go wrong?

We’re glad you’re happy with the results of your new dental implant, and we want you to feel that way forever. It’s not hard to care for dental implants, but if you neglect them, you put yourself at risk for peri-implantitis.

Similar to gum disease, peri-implantitis attacks the hard and soft gum tissue around your new implant when bacteria build up on its base. If this occurs and we catch it in its early stage, called peri-implant mucositis, we can often reverse it with treatment. But if it progresses to the bone tissue, we may need to correct it surgically.

To avoid peri-implantitis, we recommend the following dental implant care routine.

Use only soft-bristled toothbrushes

Many people are tempted to use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes, mistakenly believing they’ll clean teeth better. But hard bristles easily damage your gum tissues and cause micro abrasions that allow bacteria into the interior. 

Hard bristles also scratch the enamel of your natural teeth and the surface of your dental implants.

Consider an electric toothbrush

Although manual toothbrushes get the job done, electric toothbrushes are more efficient because they increase the number of brush strokes far beyond what’s possible with the human hand.

Try a sulcus brush

The space between your teeth and gums is called the sulcus, and it’s a great place for plaque and bacteria to meet, mingle, and build up. Your regular toothbrush may miss that spot, but a sulcus brush, which has a narrow, conical brush, reaches down below the gum line.

Floss is essential

Food gets lodged between and beneath dental implants just as it does in natural teeth, so it’s imperative that you floss diligently to remove any particles and plaque.

Regular floss

Regular dental floss is fine for removing most food particles and scraping along the inner edges of teeth and dental implants. Choose a brand that doesn’t fray easily, as those that do may leave behind fibers between your teeth.

Water flossers

Water flossers can get rid of bacteria in places where regular floss may not reach — into gum pockets up to 6 mm deep.

Interproximal aids

At times, you may need a little extra help dislodging particles and cleaning the gaps and spaces between your teeth and dental implants. That’s where interproximal aids come in. Dr. Butler can recommend safe soft picks, mini interdental brushes, and rubber-tipped stimulators that clear away debris and promote healthy gum and bone tissue.

Choose low-abrasive toothpaste

Just like hard bristles, harsh toothpaste can damage your new dental implants. Check the label and make sure your toothpaste doesn’t contain baking soda or other abrasive ingredients. Products that tout stain removal and whitening properties may also be too harsh for your porcelain implants. Instead, look for dental-implant friendly toothpaste.

How to care for a full-arch implant

All-on-4® and other similar full-arch dental implants require special care, as their contours affect the way they fit together. Click here to watch a short video about how to clean your full-arch dental implants. 

If you notice any signs of peri-implantitis or feel any discomfort at all, come see Dr. Butler for an evaluation of your dental implants. Often, you can clear up the problem with a few adjustments to your hygiene routine. And if infection has already set in, it’s important to tackle it immediately before it progresses.

To schedule an appointment, simply request one online, or call our friendly staff at 614-529-0062 today. 

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