Care of Your Custom Implant Restoration
It is imperative that you return for periodic check-up and cleanings to ensure the surrounding gums and bone are maintained and healthy. This also requires periodic x-rays to evaluate the level of bone around your implants. On an x-ray, you will be able to see the implant in the bone, the abutment, and the crown. With x-rays we can look at how the implant, abutment, and crown fit together and make sure that there are no problems. We recommend regular six month dental cleanings, or more frequently, if you need additional attention to your gums or if you have periodontal problems. The dental restorations attached to your implants will also require periodic checking by Dr. Johnson to verify that they are secure and functioning properly.
The home care needed for dental implants is probably more important than that required for your natural teeth. While they are not subject to cavities as our natural teeth are, they can develop gum inflammation, and even infection and bone loss if not properly maintained. Whereas localized inflammation and infection around your teeth is known as periodontal disease, a similar process can occur around implants and is known as peri-implantitis. Dental plaque, the sticky substance that adheres to teeth and is a breeding area for bacteria must be removed at least every 12 hours to avoid potential periodontal (peri-implant) disease. We recommend using a water flosser or oral irrigation tool such as a Water-Pik, along with a Sonicare toothbrush, for keeping your implants clean and the surrounding tissues healthy. There are implant-specific Water-Piks heads available with features that help patients clean around their implants. Above all else, routine brushing and flossing is necessary, twice a day: in the morning after breakfast and before bed. If you develop any unusual inflammation, swelling, discomfort, etc., that normal home care does not resolve within a week, we would like to know as soon as possible.
A dental implant can absolutely change a life. Proper care of your implant is important to its continued function and good health.
The following devices have proved extremely helpful in plaque removal and as tools in the proper maintenance of dental implant/restorations:
- Sonicare toothbrush, Soft Toothbrush, End Tuft Brush, Interdental Brush
- Dental Floss: i.e. SuperFloss®, Shred resistant (PTFE) Teflon floss
- Oral Irrigation Devices: i.e. Water Pik®, Ivoclar Trisa®, Oral-B OxyJet™
- Mouthwashes: An antibacterial mouth rinse can also help clean in between your dental implant restoration and natural teeth. - consult with us before using a mouth rinse: i.e. Listerine®, Chlorhexidine™, Oral-B Amosan®, warm salt water, etc.
If you experience slight bleeding or inflammation of the gum tissue, use a warm salt water rinse 3-4 times a day. If not resolved in 3-4 days call our office. Immediately report any excess bleeding or swelling around the implant. Please call Dr. Johnson, should you feel anything unusual with the implant.
Flossing under multiple teeth restorations and between implants is critical to maintaining good oral health. Threading floss can be accomplished with floss threaders or specialty floss, which has a built in threading end; certain yarn-like floss can be very effective. You should practice using different types of floss in order to create an effective routine that works for you.
DO NOT USE TOOTHPICKS OR ANY METAL TYPE PICKS AROUND THE IMPLANT. This could cause serious damage to the implant. The crowns attached to your implants require the same care as a normal crown. Do not chew ice as it will cause the porcelain to fracture. Exercise caution when eating very hard foods and do not try to open or tear items with your teeth!
Avoid using any tobacco products. Ideally, you should quit altogether because using tobacco increases the risk that your body will reject the implants.