When you invest in dental implants, it's also important that you invest the time in cleaning and maintaining them properly. While the restorations that attach to dental implants cannot get cavities, plaque can accumulate on and under them, causing gum disease, bone loss, and implant failure. Here's what you need to know about how to clean dental implants.
Brushing Your Implants
Cleaning your implant-based restorations isn't all that different from cleaning your natural teeth! Brushing the crown, bridge, or denture that attaches to your implant(s) is the first step in caring for them.
Brushing technique is important—and many people do not brush their teeth properly. When brushing your teeth or implant-supported restorations, keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the point where your teeth and gums meet. Brush your teeth gently, using back and forth motions and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Gum recession can be caused by brushing too hard or with a stiff-bristled toothbrush, which can jeopardize your dental implants.
Flossing Around Your Implants
Flossing is the second step in cleaning dental implants. Flossing works differently based on the type of restoration you have affixed to your implants. We'll provide you advice on how to floss around and under your implant-based restoration during your appointment with us.
A water flosser is often the ideal choice, as it allows you to clean around your restoration and implant without having to deal with string floss. Using a water flosser on a daily basis can help you maintain gum health and ensure that your dental implants last for decades to come.
Regular Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings and comprehensive oral evaluations are generally recommended every six months, although some individuals with a history of gum disease may require more frequent cleanings. These visits are necessary because tartar can only be removed with specialized dental tools. Keeping up with your biannual dental check-ups, along with proper oral hygiene habits at home, is one of the best strategies for keeping your dental implants in good shape.
Why Cleaning Dental Implants Is Important
Although dental implants have a very high success rate, when implant failure does occur, it’s often due to poor oral hygiene and a lack of proper care and follow-up. Brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis will help you avoid:
- Gingivitis and gum disease, which occurs when plaque and tartar build up beneath the gumline and pockets form between the teeth (or implants) and the gums.
- Peri-implantitis, which is an infection of the soft tissue and bone around the implant; it begins with inflammation, but if left untreated, bone loss can ensue, leaving implants vulnerable to failure.
- Tooth decay, which will not affect your dental implants directly, but can impact the remaining natural teeth in your mouth.