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Dental implants - Home Care

Dental implants are one option to replace missing teeth. Dental implants act like replacement tooth roots and your dentist can attach a cap (crown) or other restorations to replace one or more teeth. While dental implants cannot get tooth decay (cavities), they may experience gum and bone loss (or peri-implantitis) if bacterial plaque builds up around implants. The bacteria in dental plaque can make toxins that cause inflammation in your gums. This swelling can lead to bleeding, loss of the bone around implants, and even implant loosening and loss of the implant. Because implants can develop this type of gum and bone loss, they require continued care at home to ensure that bacterial plaque does not build up around the implants.

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Because ideal home care differs based upon the type of restoration attached to the implant, it is important to discuss the best way to keep your implants clean with your dental healthcare professional.

Single tooth implants

  • Brush the implant at least twice daily with a soft manual or electric toothbrush.
  • Use stannous fluoridecontaining toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once daily
    • Insert floss into the contact encircling the dental implant
    • Crisscross the floss in front of the dental implant
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    • Move the floss in a shoe-shining motion at and just below the gum line
  • In areas where the interdental spaces are larger or if there is a space between the dental implant and the tooth next to it, use an interdental brush to clean in between implants and teeth.

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Implants
  • Rinse one to two times daily with an alcohol-free mouthrinse.
  • If recommended by your dental healthcare professional, use a rubber tip stimulator to massage and/or stimulate gum tissue.
  • If recommended by your dental healthcare professional, consider using an oral irrigator on low power to rinse in the interdental areas.

Locator and/or bar-retained attachments for removable full or partial denture

  • Clean the locators or the bar attachments in your mouth in the same way as described for single tooth implants.
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  • Soak the denture in the recommended denture cleaning solution. Only soak for the time that is recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Brush the denture with a denture brush and rinse prior to replacing in your mouth.

  • Visually check implant attachment parts inside the denture. If you see a worn or missing area, visit your dental healthcare professional for an exam and repair or replacement.

Full-arch fixed prostheses

  • Brush at least twice daily with a soft manual or electric toothbrush using a stannous fluoride-containing toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once daily using a floss-threader or floss with a built-in threader to insert the floss under the fixed prosthesis.
  • If recommended, use an interdental and/or end tuft brush to access areas underneath the dental prosthesis.
  • Use an oral irrigator on low power one to two times daily. Aim the irrigation stream under the prosthesis in a direction that is perpendicular to the direction implants come out of the gum tissue.

If you notice persistent redness, bleeding, pus, or painful gum tissues around your dental implants, visit your dental healthcare professional so that they can evaluate your implants to determine if you have inflammation in your gums and/or bone around the implants.

Tips to keep your implants healthy:

  • Ask your dental healthcare professional for specific cleaning recommendations and written instructions for how to care for your dental implants.
  • Make sure that you are cleaning around your implants frequently and properly.
  • Consider using specialized cleaning tools to clean around dental implants because they tend to be smaller and have a round shape than the teeth they are replacing.
  • Visit your dentist regularly so that they can evaluate the health and function of your dental implants.