How to Care for Dental Implants

Dental implants are now a very common treatment option to replace missing teeth among adults. Implants can also be used to help stabilize a denture for comfort and function. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 3 million people have implants and that number is growing by 500,000 a year.

To ensure the longevity of an implant, specific techniques and efforts are necessary to keep it clean and free of destructive bacteria and plaque, which can cause infection in the tissues around the implant and lead to failure. Without tenacious biofilm removal, peri-implantitis can develop and result in implant loss.

The dental hygienist has an important role to play in keeping dental implants disease-free. Traditional dental hygiene scalers used on natural chompers can scratch a crown, abutment, or implant, so your hygienist will instead use special gizmos made of plastics and resins to thoroughly clean without causing damage.

Implant recipients also play a significant role in the success of their own restoration and must be motivated to take care of the implant. Here’s how to provide the best care at home.

For single implants

  • Clean at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Use a low-abrasive toothpaste
  • Brush under and around the implant crown
  • Use a nylon coated interdental brush to clean hard-to-reach places
  • Floss daily with unwaxed tape or implant-specific floss
  • Use a recommended oral irrigator

For overdentures

  • Remove denture daily and soak in specific cleaner for recommended time
  • Inspect o-rings, locator caps, and clips and alert your dentist if worn or missing
  • Gently brush the underside of the denture with a denture brush
  • Rinse overdenture thoroughly with water before placing it into your mouth
  • Talk with your dentist about replacing O-rings and locator caps once a year

Implants are a profoundly successful medical procedure despite the atypical cleaning challenges they present. The prevention of peri-implant disease is paramount to implant health and function. How you care for your implant is an important part of success.