Dental implants are an attractive and convenient way to restore your smile. They continue to rise in popularity because they offer numerous advantages over alternative restorations such as dentures and dental bridges.
Dental implants are designed to blend seamlessly with your smile. They support your overall oral health and you’ll never have to remove your dental implants for cleaning or any other reason. Dental implants make speaking easier and they don’t put restrictions on what you can eat.
Dental implants are designed to last when taken care of each day. That means people with dental implants should visit their dentist at least twice a year for checkups and practice a daily regimen of home care that includes brushing, rinsing with mouthwash, and using an interdental cleaner such as dental floss.
As you can see, effective home care for patients with dental implants is very similar to the way people take care of their natural teeth. The major difference in caring for dental implants is that patients with dental implants should select toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, and interdental cleaners that are effective yet gentle on both the implants and the surrounding tissue.
With dental implants “as with natural teeth, the goal of oral hygiene is to prevent infection” such as tooth decay and gum disease. Dental infections are caused by bacteria which feed on the plaque and tartar in your mouth. That’s why effective home care that helps prevent the growth of plaque and tartar “is critical to the overall health of the implant.”
In addition to preventing dental infections, you also want to practice home care which is gentle on the implants themselves. For this reason “the common factor for all home-care aids is that the products must be made of materials that will not scratch the surface of the titanium implant or the porcelain surface of the prosthesis.”
Both manual and power toothbrushes can be effective for use with dental implants. But there’s a consensus in the dental literature which “supports the use of soft or extra soft brushes as a means to clean the surface of a titanium implant safely.”
It’s important to avoid abrasive toothpaste that could scratch or damage your dental implants. That means avoiding the following types of toothpaste:
- Stain-removing toothpaste
- Smoker’s toothpaste
- Toothpaste containing baking soda, stannous fluoride, or sodium fluoride.
It’s important for everyone to rinse with antibacterial mouthwash twice a day to prevent the growth of plaque and tartar. For patients with dental implants, research supports rinsing with “an antimicrobial rinse in conjunction with a rubber tip stimulator.”
Interdental cleaners such as dental floss and water flossers are used to clean the surface between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t always reach. Dentists recommend using either unwaxed floss or implant-specific floss around dental implants. Floss that has pumice or whitening products should definitely be avoided.
Many patients find water flossers to be a gentle alternative to flossing, especially when cleaning around dental implants. Current research about the effectiveness of using water flossers with dental implants is limited. But in comparison to dental floss, recent studies have found water flossers to be “up to 50% more effective in reducing gingivitis and up to 93% more effective in reducing gingival bleeding.”
Interested in learning more about restoring the gaps in your smile with dental implants? Call
248-642-3800 today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Winter. Or, just leave us your information in the submission form and we’ll get right back to you.