Morgan Johnson, RDH
How Do I Care For My Dental Implant?
Caring for implants is similar to the way natural teeth are cared for, but they do require a little more attention. Further down we will discuss a few things to keep in mind when choosing home care products, and review certain techniques to include in your everyday home care routine. Following these guidelines can help to ensure the success and longevity of your implant!
There are many tools that can be used to help with removing plaque from an implant. As for toothbrushes, a soft bristled electric or manual brush is okay to use, as long as it is used properly. The toothbrush should be angled at a 45 degree angle toward the gumline, in order to reach the plaque under the gums. Brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day, and reaching all surfaces of the tooth is vital. As for toothpaste, it is important to choose one that is non-abrasive, so it does not scratch the surface of the implant. Stay away from toothpastes that contain the following products: stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride (APF >3.0), baking soda, stain removers, and smoker’s toothpaste.
When it comes to flossing an implant, choose one that is unwaxed, or implant specific. ‘X-floss’ is a fluffy implant specific floss that works great because it is able to clean more surface area, compared to the typical thinner floss. When flossing, insert the floss in contacts on both sides of the implant. Wrap in a circle and crisscross in front, switch hands, and move in a shoe-shine motion. The implant has horizontal threads underneath the gums, so it is important to floss horizontally to remove plaque and biofilm, at least once a day!
The Waterpik Water Flosser is another great tool to help keep an implant clean. After flossing with traditional string floss, the waterpik can and should be used to flush the debris out from under the pockets of the implant. Antimicrobial rinses can also be added to the water reservoir of the Waterpik to prevent inflammation and help remove biofilm.
Other devices that help clean in between the teeth include proxabrushes, soft piks, end tuft brushes, or any other interdental brush. Just be sure they are nylon coated so as to not scratch the implant.
We hope this was helpful for all of you that have an implant of your own! As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about the above information.
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