Have you recently replaced missing teeth with dental implants? If so, it’s important to protect your investment so you can enjoy a healthy, functional smile for many years to come. Fortunately, dental implants can be cared for similarly to natural teeth. Today, our team at River Birch Dental discusses dental implant care and offers tips and tricks for proper maintenance.
If you would like to learn more about dental implants, schedule a visit with one of our doctors. Contact River Birch Dental online or call us at (715) 646-2161.
The Importance of Dental Implant Care
Dental implants are fabricated from titanium, and the attached restorations are generally crafted from ceramic, zirconia, or a similar dental material. Because there is no natural tooth structure, implants are impervious to decay. However, it is important to understand that implants are still vulnerable to gum disease. In the same way that natural teeth can be affected by gingivitis, implants develop a similar condition known as mucositis. If left untreated, this condition progresses into peri-implantitis. At this stage, irreversible bone loss occurs, potentially leading to complete implant failure. Therefore, it is essential to care for your implants properly so you can enjoy them for many years to come.
Brushing and Flossing: Dental Implant Care
Your implants should be brushed and flossed daily, just like your natural teeth. When brushing, angle your toothbrush into the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Then move the brush back and forth for approximately 20 seconds before moving on to the next section. This technique helps remove plaque and sweep harmful bacteria away. We recommend using a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Avoid harsh whitening pastes, as these can cause micro-abrasions on the surfaces of your restorations.
The flossing method recommended for you will depend on the type of restoration you have. Single implants can be flossed easily with normal dental floss, while fixed implant bridges may require interproximal brushes, dental picks, or floss threaders. Your dentist or hygienist can help you select the tools that will be most effective for you, as well as demonstrate proper flossing techniques.
It is also a good idea to invest in an antibacterial mouthwash. Rinsing twice a day will help remove harmful microbes and reduce plaque buildup. To avoid dry mouth, try an alcohol-free product.
What About Water Flossers?
With the popularity of water flossers, more and more patients ask about their effectiveness. In short, water flossers are an excellent addition to your oral hygiene regimen. However, they should never be used in place of physical floss. Why? Because physical contact is necessary when removing plaque deposits and tartar from the teeth. Water flossers do a fantastic job of removing food particles and debris, but they leave harmful biofilm behind. To ensure your teeth are as clean as possible, be sure you are incorporating dental floss or interproximal brushes into your at-home routine.
Regular Dental Cleanings and Examinations
Routine dental visits are important for everyone, and there’s no exception for patients with dental implants. During a cleaning with your hygienist, he or she will thoroughly debride your implants, removing debris from the threads of the posts as well as your restorations and natural teeth. This will be completed using hand scalers and ultrasonic instruments. Next, your dentist will assess the condition of your implant and ensure the surrounding tissues are strong and healthy.
How Often Should My Implants Be Cleaned?
Dental implants should be cleaned just as often as your natural teeth. It takes a few months for oral bacteria to repopulate. In general, most patients require cleanings every six months. However, if you are prone to certain dental conditions, such as decay or periodontal disease, we may recommend more frequent visits.
Learn More about Dental Implant Care
If you are considering dental implants or have recently undergone treatment, understanding proper implant maintenance is crucial for your long-term oral health. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact River Birch Dental by calling (715) 646-2161.