When you get dental implants, it’s important to take the time to clean and maintain them. Although the restorations that attach to dental implants cannot get cavities, plaque can build up on and under them, which can lead to gum disease, bone loss, and implant failure. Here’s how to clean your dental implants and why it matters.
Brushing Your Implants
You might be surprised to learn that cleaning your dental implants isn’t all that much different from cleaning your natural teeth. Caring for your implants starts by brushing them.
Technique is important with brushing—and many people don’t brush their teeth properly! Whether you’re brushing teeth or implant-supported restorations, you should always hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to where your teeth and gums meet. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and move your brush back and forth gently. Brushing with too much pressure or with a stiff-bristled toothbrush can lead to gum recession, which can compromise your dental implants.
Flossing Around Your Implants
The second step in cleaning dental implants is flossing, but this can look different depending on the type of restoration that is attached to your implants. When we attach your implant-based restoration, we’ll provide you with instructions on how to floss around and under it.
Often, the best solution is a water flosser, which allows you to easily and effectively clean around your restoration and implant without having to handle string floss. Daily use of a water flosser can help you maintain gum health to ensure that your dental implants will last decades to come.
Regular Dental Cleanings
You’ll need to see your dentist every six months for dental cleanings and evaluations, although some patients with a history of gum disease may require more frequent cleanings. These visits are important because once plaque hardens into tartar, it can only be removed using professional dental tools. Along with good oral hygiene habits at home, keeping up with your biannual dental appointments is one of the best ways to maintain your dental implants.
Why Cleaning Dental Implants Is Important
Dental implants have a very high success rate, but of the small number of implant failure cases, many are caused by poor oral hygiene habits and a lack of proper aftercare. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent:
- Gingivitis, which is when plaque and tartar accumulate below the gumline and cause pockets to form between the teeth (or implants) and gums. Untreated gingivitis progresses into gum disease.
- Peri-implantitis, one of the most common causes of dental implant failure. This is an infection of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the implant; first, it becomes inflamed, and without treatment, bone loss can occur, which can leave implants without adequate support.
- Tooth decay, which will not affect your dental implants, but can impact the remaining natural teeth in your mouth.