What oral care do I need if I have dental implants?

If you have a mix of natural teeth and dental implants, you will want to see your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and check up. If you have active or past gum (periodontal) disease, your dentist may want to see you more frequently. You should also brush your teeth and dental implant at least twice a day and floss them at least once a day.

If you do not have any of your own teeth and only have dental implants, you should still follow the advice above. Some people who have demonstrated very good home oral hygiene may be instructed to only see the dental office once a year for an evaluation. Dental implants don't decay, but they are still affected if bone around them is lost so it is important to keep them clean and to keep the gums around them healthy by brushing and flossing properly around them.

As dental implants are replacement for natural teeth, I would want to know from my patients what led to loss of their teeth. Did they lose their teeth to bad gums, infection, trauma, cavities, etc. Why? Because history generally repeats and we need to be careful the same factors don't effect the implants. For example, if a patient's tooth loss is from bad gums and periodontal disease, which is a chronic disease, they are more susceptible to implant loss from periodontal disease. So they have to be more diligent on oral hygiene to prevent implant loss. But in general, any oral care that is necessary for the natural teeth, i.e., brushing, flossing, mouth washes, routine dental checkups, the same applies for maintaining dental implants.
Carol Jahn
Implants are a big investment that's why regular dental exams and visits with your dental hygienist are extremely important along with meticulous daily home care. Implants can present some cleaning challenges and floss can be a struggle. One product that has been tested on implants and been found safe and effective is a Water Flosser, also called an oral irrigator or dental water jet. The Water Flosser comes with several tips. Two that are good for implants are the soft Pik Pocket Tip and the three filament tip called the Plaque Seeker Tip.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is always important. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, flossing daily and using a fluoride mouthwash can help prevent the decay of the existing teeth near the implants and maintain healthy gums. People with dental implants should continue to schedule regular cleanings from their dentist or dental hygienist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.