How to Properly Care for Your Dental Implants

by Dr. Diane Hourigan

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, three million people in the United States currently have dental implants, and approximately 500,000 dental patients opt for this particular brand of dental replacement every year. Clearly, the number of people that prefer dental implants to dentures is growing exponentially, but since this still is a fairly new alternative, not all Chapel Hill dentistry patients of Dr. Diane Hourigan are cleaning them in a way that will protect their longevity and keep their gums clean.

Knowing this, we have put together this daily checklist for keeping your dental implants cared for properly:

#1 Clean Twice a Day

If you are brushing your teeth correctly, you are doing it twice a day to clear away food particles and plaque to prevent cavities. While dental implants can’t get cavities, it still is important to clean them twice a day, just like normal teeth. This keeps food and bacteria away from your gums and preserves the durability of the implant.

#2 Use a Soft-Bristle Brush

You don’t want to use a hard brush when caring for implants because they are prosthetic and can wear down over time under duress. A high-quality, soft-bristle toothbrush is the best way to ensure that you’re cleaning your implants without causing them damage at the same time.

#3 Use the Same Techniques as Your Real Teeth

As is the case with natural teeth, dental patients with implants should use the same basic brushing techniques. However, proper care does require special attention under and around the implant to make sure it’s staying clean and the gums aren’t being introduced to extra bacteria.

#4 Use Nylon-Coated Interdental Brush for Tough Spots

These funky-looking little brushes do a great job getting those hard-to-reach spaces between teeth, especially the extra gaps and crevices that come with dental implants. Use these smaller brushes to clear any areas where food could get trapped, yet may not be reachable by brushes.

#5 Floss Daily (with the Correct Floss)

Floss does a similar job, but for even tighter spaces. Just because the tooth isn’t “real” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t floss. Adjacent teeth may be natural, and keeping food and bacteria away from those will be imperative in driving away potential cavities and periodontitis.

#6 Consider an Oral Irrigator

It’s amazing what a little splash of water can do for the health of your teeth, and an approved oral irrigator is precisely the tool to keep your teeth (real and implants) at their cleanest. They typically run $20-60, but they go a long way toward washing away the last remnants of food particles from your dental implant.

If you do all of these things on a daily basis, you will give your dental implants a better shot at longevity while also helping to avoid gum disease and bad breath. It is every bit as important to take care of your dental implants as it is to take care of your regular teeth, but if anything does go wrong and you find yourself in need of a dental implant repair dentist, Dr. Hourigan is a terrific option to help you get everything else back in working order.