Once you have had dental implants installed, it's important to know that your oral hygiene regimen will change to accommodate the implants you now have. Good oral care must start prior to installation of the implants to provide a healthy environment for faster healing. This article discusses a few important tips that will help you address any concerns you have about caring for your new teeth.
Dangers associated with homecare products
Your dental hygienist will recommend a homecare regimen based on your individual condition. To understand the importance of these guidelines, you should know that today's dental titanium alloy implant surfaces are rougher than earlier versions as this was found to speed up integration. To protect your implants, you have to choose non-abrasive products that won't scratch exposed implant surfaces such as the threads. Steer clear of stain removing products, smoker's toothpaste, baking soda or products with high sodium chloride and stannous fluoride.
In addition, your products should not corrode, irritate and/or etch the titanium surface or permucosal seal. Products with high fluoride/sodium chloride concentration, when combined with low pH can remove the implants' oxide layer. Removal of this layer makes the implant susceptible to corrosion. Stannous fluoride causes roughness and etching on both implants and crowns.
How to choose a toothbrush
You can still use soft-bristled electric, sonic or manual toothbrushes without adversely affecting your implants. You should brush at least twice a day with low-abrasive products, taking care to remove any bacterial plaque on the implants.
Nylon-coated interdental toothbrushes or proxabrushes are very useful for targeting the hard-to-reach spots around prostheses and implants. You should use nylon-only (no metal wire) interdental brushes to avoid scratches on implant and prosthesis. It is vital to ensure you have brushed under and around the peri-implant crevice as this is a common bacterial buildup spot.
Choosing dental floss
Generally, you should go for implant-specific dental floss or unwaxed tape to protect gum tissue around the implant. If you had full-fixed retained prosthesis or bar-retained prosthesis, you'll need special floss with an inbuilt threader.
When flossing the implant, insert floss through both sides of the implant. Crisscross the threads at the front to form a full circle and then move in shoe-shining motion making sure to reach the peri-implant crevice. This area is highly susceptible to inflammation.
You can also use anti-bacterial rinses, particularly if you have inflammation or are unable to properly reach all areas of the implant and prosthesis for best cleaning. If you're especially susceptible to inflammation, a rubber tip stimulator may be recommended for you in addition to the antibacterial rinse.