Using dental implants to replace natural teeth is becoming increasingly popular and is the best treatment to preserve the bone quality of your jaw, protect surrounding teeth, and restore chewing function. Besides the benefits you’ll feel once they’re placed, dental implants are also quite an investment, and they increase the success and longevity of your mouth. With regular professional care (routine cleanings and dental visits every 3-6 months) and proper, daily home care, you’ll have a strong dental implant and new tooth for an average of 30 to 35 years! By keeping your dental implant and the surrounding area clean you may reduce the risk of peri-implantitis (inflammation/infection of tissue and bone around the implant screw). After having a dental implant placed, good home care must be implemented immediately following the post-surgical healing period.
Brushing your teeth at least 2 times a day and flossing the dental implant area at least once a day is highly recommended.
Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gum (toothbrush should be half on the gum and half on your teeth). Use light pressure and circular motions with your toothbrush to brush your gums and your teeth (Figure 1). Be careful not to brush too hard around your implant and brush your teeth for a total of 2 minutes.
Daily flossing is imperative to the success of your dental implant. To properly floss your implant, use a long piece of floss (about 14-16 inches long) and gently floss through the front and back side of your implant (See Figure 2).
Floss inserted on mesial & distal
Figure 2: Floss through the front and back sides
Next, with the two ends of the floss, criss-cross the ends (Figure 3) and move the floss in a shoe-shine like manner. The purpose is to clean the implant screw and physically remove bacteria and food debris from the screw.
Floss crisscrossed in shoe-shine manner
Figure 3: Criss cross floss ends and move floss in a shoe-shine manner, left and right.
Other home care aids may be effective in caring for your implant:
Oral Irrigators/Water flossers: May be used to reduce to reduce inflammation by rinsing out bacteria in the area and helpful in reaching hard-to-reach areas. Prescription antimicrobial solution, chlorhexidine gluconate, may also be used in an oral irrigator.
Interproximal brushes: These tree-shaped mini brushes can effectively clean between areas surrounding your implant. Use caution when using these brushes as it can cause injury to your gum areas if not used properly.
These recommendations will help you maintain a healthy implant!
Please have your implant and periodontal maintenance done every 3 months at your dental office in order to ensure your implant’s health.
Wingrove, S. (n.d.). Focus on dental implant home care. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from RDH website: http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-33/issue-9/features/focus-on-implant-home-care.html
Julie Huynh, RDH
Aurora Dental Care