Maintaining Dental Implants

Dental implants are a very effective solution for replacing missing teeth. They are more stable than removable dentures and therefore offer a wider range of use than dentures do. However, even if they can be used as natural teeth can for eating and speaking, they require slightly different care. It’s important to maintain good hygiene for dental implants in order to enjoy many years with them and avoid developing issues with them.

Daily care of dental implants is very similar to that of natural teeth, meaning brushing and flossing is needed every day to clean away plaque and debris. When cleaning implants, special attention should be given to all sides of the implant, gently brushing around it. Special aids for cleaning implants may include:

  • A small, soft manual toothbrush or electric brush

  • A low-abrasive, tartar-control toothpaste

  • Dental floss for cleaning around the implant abutments

Other special supplies used for cleaning dental implants that a dentist might recommend include antimicrobial mouth rinses, inter-dental brushes or other tools for removing plaque between the teeth on either side of the implant(s), and disclosing tablets to stain the areas of plaque accumulation to allow for easier cleaning.

In addition to diligent daily cleaning, dental implants also require regular dental visits. More frequent visits may be recommended for patients with dental implants to receive a professional exam and cleaning. Examinations of dental implants differs from regular check-ups because implant dentists and hygienists will need to probe and measure the gums around the implant (in addition to around natural teeth), check and compare x-rays annually, and check for looseness and the bite. All of the components of the implant will also be examined to make sure that everything is functioning properly. If proper care is not taken, implants can develop problems such as bleeding, infection, or bone loss.