Dental Implant-Supported Restorations: Care and Maintenance
Restorations supported by dental implants require daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleanings in order to keep them clean and free of infection just like natural teeth. However, due to the structure of implants and these types of restorations, dental implant care consists of slightly different techniques to ensure the health of the surrounding tissues. Dr. Neil Starr is a world-renowned prosthodontist who can coordinate with trusted specialists to assist patients with every stage of their implant treatment. He can also instruct patients on the best way to care for their dental implants to protect themselves against possible oral health concerns.
Implants vs. Natural Teeth
One of the keys to maintaining implant-supported restorations is understanding what makes them different from natural teeth. A natural tooth has one or more roots which attach to a bony socket through the use of a periodontal ligament. This ligament is composed of tiny fibers which connect the roots to the surrounding bone, as well the gum tissue. The entire structure is connected to a blood vessel supply which can bring the tooth the cells and nutrients it needs to fight infection more effectively.
In addition to daily maintenance, patients with implant-supported restorations should attend regular office visits for professional examinations and cleanings.
In contrast, an implant-supported restoration gains support through a process known as osseointegration, during which the titanium post fuses with the bone. However, above the bone, the implant is unable to form the same connection to the gum tissue as a natural tooth. The restoration rests against the gums, but does not have access to the same infection-preventing blood vessel supply. This means that hygienic maintenance of implant-supported restorations is extremely important.
Caring for dental implants should be part of patients' daily oral hygiene routine. Implant-supported restorations should be brushed and flossed twice a day, and cleaned after meals. Optimal tools for implant care include:
- A soft toothbrush, either manual or electric
- Low-abrasive toothpaste
- Dental floss for cleaning around abutments
For some patients, Dr. Starr also recommends the use of an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Interdental brushes or other aids may also be helpful for addressing buildup near abutments or around the gums.
Patients can generally care for implant-supported restorations using the same items they used in the past.
In addition to daily maintenance, patients with implant-supported restorations should attend regular office visits for professional examinations and cleanings. Most dentists recommend biannual exams. However, individuals with periodontal disease or other high-risk oral health conditions may need more frequent visits.
The Importance of Implant Maintenance
Dental implants are a highly effective tooth replacement solution that protect against jawbone deterioration. However, when implants are not properly maintained, patients may develop a serious health concern called peri-implantitis. The first sign for patients to be aware of is bleeding around the implant which is known as mucositis. If caught early, this condition can often be treated successfully and the effects reversed. If it progresses, peri-implantitis can lead to irreversible bone loss.
Contact Our Office to Learn More
Our team is dedicated to providing high-quality care for our patients at every stage of their treatment. For more information about the care and maintenance of implant-supported restorations or undergoing dental implants treatment, contact our office online or call us at (202) 293-7177.