Did you know that dental implants can last between ten years right up to the end of your life? Dental implants are one of the best ways to replace missing teeth. They are sturdy and look natural, and they can last a long time with proper care.
It is essential to clean your dental implants regularly to keep them looking their best. In this guide, we provide tips on how to clean dental implants properly. We also discuss some common problems that can occur with implants and how to prevent them.
So if you are wondering about the process of cleaning dental implants, keep reading.
What Dental Implants Are and How They Work
Dental implants are a way to replace missing teeth with artificial ones that look natural and feel just like real teeth. The implant is attached to the jawbone by a titanium screw and then covered with gum tissue, so it looks like part of your smile.
Dental implants are often used for those who have lost one or more permanent teeth due to injury, disease, decay, and other illnesses. They may also be an option for people who want better aesthetics than dentures offer but don't need complete mouth reconstruction surgery—which would involve removing all remaining natural teeth.
Two main types exist. The first is called osseointegrated implants, which fuse into bone over time. The second is endosteal implants, which go directly into the jawbone without bonding with it first.
The process of placing a dental implant is usually done in two steps.
First, the dentist will make an incision through the gums where missing teeth are located and then screw titanium rods directly into bone tissue beneath the gum line to hold them firmly in place. These screws act as anchors for artificial tooth replacements called crowns which look like natural teeth when finished.
Dental implants can have a success rate of up to 98 percent. The process of placing an implant is relatively simple, but the success rate we mentioned can be negatively impacted by how you care for your implants.
Dental implants require special home care to ensure they remain infection-free and functional throughout their lifetime. The point is, they look and act just like natural teeth. This means that the need for oral care is the same.
Why It's Important to Clean Them Regularly
The main reason it's vital to clean dental implants regularly is to maintain dental health.
They can accumulate plaque and bacteria over time. If plaque and bacteria are not removed, they can cause problems such as gum disease and implant failure.
Another reason to clean your implants is to keep them looking their best. Plaque and bacteria can cause discoloration of the implant surface, so it's essential to clean them regularly—the same way you care for your natural teeth.
How to Clean Dental Implants
Cleaning your dental implants is essential for their long-term health and longevity. Therefore, it's vital to clean them correctly not to damage any part of the implant or gum tissue around it.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice daily (or more). Brush around all surfaces of each implant with short back-and-forth strokes that extend from the base up toward where gums meet teeth at the top. Rinse afterward using lukewarm water.
Keep in mind that if you recently received dental plants, you will want to avoid using any mouthwash for at least a month. Additionally, avoid rinsing excessively or switching rinse brands to avoid irritating the surgical site.
A good tip here would be to avoid any toothpaste that contains any types of abrasive ingredients. This could be anything from stain removers to baking soda, toothpaste for smokers, etc. Abrasive toothpaste can cause wear and tear on acrylic.
This removes the glaze on top of the porcelain. Of course, this applies if you are receiving porcelain veneers or implants of similar material.
Use an interdental brush once daily (or more) to clean between implants and teeth. An interdental toothbrush is similar to a regular toothbrush, given that it can be reused any time you clean your teeth. However, you will notice an immediate difference in shape, which gives it a different perspective of reach for your implants.
If needed, floss with dental tape, a water flosser, or crown and bridge floss before brushing so there are no food particles stuck in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth where they could cause inflammation or infection later on down the line.
Twice a week (or more), use a tool to remove any plaque or calculus build-up from implant surfaces. You could use an ultrasonic cleaner to do this; however, you should remember that you should not use ultrasonic technology on implants too often. This is because there are metal tips on the cleaner tool.
They can scratch the softer titanium if present. There are plastic sleeve covers that you can use to put on the tips of the cleaner to reduce instances of scratching. If you decide to use an ultrasonic cleaner, you will place the cleaning tip right over each dental implant and activate it for about 15 seconds.
Then you'll release pressure and wait 30 seconds before moving on to the next one so as not to cause any irritation or damage.
If using an ultrasonic cleaner at home, make sure to purchase one with a variable power setting so as not to apply too much force and harm surrounding gum tissue. Aim for around level two of five when set on low intensity.
Have your dentist clean implants during regular checkups/cleanings every six months or sooner if needed. This will help maintain optimal oral health while keeping costs down on dental care bills over time because regular maintenance means less wear-and-tear occurring at once.
However, if you take care of your dental implants, as you should your natural teeth, you shouldn't experience deterioration in this way.
What if You Don't Keep Your Dental Implants Clean?
If you don't clean your dental implants regularly, they may become stained or discolored. They may also develop a foul odor. In addition, plaque and bacteria can cause gum disease and implant failure.
Gum disease is a severe problem that can lead to tooth loss. Implant failure is when the implant becomes loose or falls out of the socket. It can also cause pain and discomfort.
Now that you know implant failure is possible, it shows the importance of keeping your implant healthy and clean regularly. If your dental implant fails, it can be replaced. Often, implant-supported restoration can be switched out without needing surgery.
How this works is that your dentist will fabricate a new crown, bridge, or denture, essentially what you had before. They will reattach it to the underlying attachment. If you ever experience your implant failing, you'll want to make sure that you contact your dentist immediately.
Although this can happen, remember that dental implant failure is pretty rare. The main thing is that you want to know it can happen. One of the ways that you can alleviate this possibility is by taking care of your implants as you would your natural teeth.
Infection and bone loss are the two main reasons why implants fail, so it's important to know that both of these things are usually preventable.
Tips for Keeping Your Implants Healthy
Like with anything else, there are a few essential tips that you can follow to keep your dental implants clean and healthy. Following these tips will allow you to get the most out of your implant and increase its longevity.
- Brush your teeth and implant twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily around the implant and between your teeth
- Use a water flosser to clean in between the implant and gum line
- Avoid biting down on hard objects like ice, nutshells, or pens
- See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings
Rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash after eating or drinking anything other than water. Remember to avoid mouthwash if you recently got your implants installed.
Preventing Common Implant Problems
There are a few common problems with dental implants. However, many of these issues are preventable using simple at-home techniques and remedies.
Infections can occur if bacteria enter the wound site around the implant. To prevent infection, make sure to brush your teeth and implant regularly. This is one of the reasons why rinsing with hydrogen peroxide is beneficial.
This is an inflammatory condition that can occur around the implant. It is caused by bacteria and can lead to bone loss and implant failure. To prevent peri-implantitis, make sure to follow the dental implant cleaning tips above.
Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a strong metal. However, they can still fracture if you bite down on hard objects like ice or nutshells—as your dentist will warn you not to do. So, a straightforward way to prevent implant fractures is to avoid biting down on hard objects.
Dental implants can cause sensitivity because they are metal and conduct heat and cold. If you experience sensitivity in your implant, try using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth or switch to a softer toothbrush.
If you continue to experience issues, book an appointment with your dentist.
Benefits Of Dental Implants
There are many benefits to getting dental implants if you need one or more than one tooth replaced. These include:
- Improved appearance by filling gaps left behind by lost teeth
- The restored function that was compromised due to missing teeth
- Prevention of jawbone deterioration, which can happen when teeth are missing for a long time
- Dental implants also feel like natural teeth; you will not be able to tell the difference
It's important to note that dental implants require good oral hygiene habits to be successful. This means brushing twice daily and flossing at least once per day or more, depending on if anything is stuck in between the teeth.
Although implants have multiple benefits, you have to be willing to take care of them to get the most out of them.
How Often Should You See a Dentist for Dental Implants?
You should visit your dentist at least twice a year. Visiting every six months or sooner if needed can also allow them to detect early signs of gum disease before it becomes more serious. The best way to care for your implant is by brushing after each meal, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly.
This is so they can give you tips and tricks specific to maintaining good dental health with implants. The thing is, they're like your natural teeth, treat them as such.
That's All There Is to It!
Now you know how to clean dental implants. Your dental implants can last as long as you take care of them. The main takeaway is to realize that your dental implant needs proper care, just like your natural teeth do.
Your natural teeth can experience rot and decay. Similarly, a dental implant is susceptible to the same issues, and with a lack of care, it will eventually fail. Keeping your dental implant clean can reduce the chances of this happening.
If you are looking for a dental implant specialist, the team at Montclair Dental Spa is here to help. Our team of specialists offers comprehensive consultations and treatments for all your implant needs.
Schedule an appointment with us today.