Dental implants can be a permanent way of replacing missing teeth, but unfortunately, they can’t be taken care of maintenance-free. Caring for dental implants involves keeping them properly maintained (just like regular teeth) to keep the gums, and surrounding tissues, healthy.
However, regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings and check-ups will ensure your implants serve you well for many years.
Caring for Dental Implants: What to Do at Home
It doesn’t take much effort to care for your dental implants at home. Proper homecare can be done regularly by:
- Brushing them using an electric toothbrush
- Regular flossing
- Using antibacterial mouth rinses
While this can take of basic, regular cleaning, it’s better to go one more step. To fully care for your dental implants, it’s highly recommended that patients use a water flosser like a Waterpik to care for their implants.
The Waterpik, in particular, is safe to use around implants and has been shown to be effective in maintaining gum health around implants. The Waterpik also comes in many options, but we recommend getting the plug-in version for consistent water pressure.
Cleaning implant-supported prosthetics is just as important as cleaning natural teeth. Bacterial biofilm, commonly known as “plaque”, collects on implants just as it does on natural teeth. As such, plaque needs to be removed on a daily basis.
If the proper homecare isn’t performed, infections known as peri-implantitis can develop. Peri-implantitis can quickly lead to the loss of bone around an affected implant. Naturally, it’s not something to leave untreated as severe bone loss can result in the loss of the implant entirely.
How Professional Dental Cleanings and Check-ups Help Dental Implants Last Longer
While homecare is important, regular cleaning by dental professionals can’t be overlooked either. Implants should be cleaned, checked, and maintained regularly by a dental professional. How often you need to have your implants cleaned and checked will depend on your oral and medical health status. In some cases, cleanings may be recommended as often as every 3 months.
During the cleanings, the dental hygienist will take x-rays of your implants at least once a year for your dentist to check for any infection or bone loss around the implant. Radiographs are typically used to monitor the health of a dental implant.
While it may seem a little overwhelming at first, developing good oral hygiene routines around cleaning your dental implants ensures they last for many years to come.