If I have Dental Implants, I don’t need a teeth cleaning…Right?
No. Absolutely not true.
Dental implants need cleaning just as much as natural teeth.
Dental implants are a great solution to getting you back your missing teeth and natural smile. Although they are artificial teeth and roots, they are not the same as a denture. A denture can be taken out and brushed and soaked and cleaned. A dental implant can not. Single dental implants have three main parts. The actual implant, the abutment and the implant crown. For those with implant attached dentures, there may be snaps or attachments in the denture that hold the denture to the implants. Click here to see a video of how implants work.
Many people come into my office looking for dental implants. The reality is that many people are in the place of needing dental implants due to lack of dental care or many years of neglect that led to lost teeth by periodontal disease (gum disease) or large cavities or abscesses. Sometimes people are looking for a magic solution or an end of pain and suffering from tooth problems and see dental implants as a way to still be able to chew and look presentable. Dental implants can be and do all of these things.
However, I do often see that because people see the implants as a one-and-done solution, they soon fall back into the pattern of neglect or spotty dental care. With the investment of time, energy and money people put into their mouths to get dental implants, I really encourage people to stay up on their dental hygiene.
Cleaning dental implants at home is easy with the right tools. A waterpik is an effective, gentle but powerful tool to keep food and plaque from collecting around the gumline of teeth or implants. I see amazing results from regular daily use of Oracare mouth rinse and recommend its use with all of my dental implant patients. Sonicare toothbrushes are excellent for removing plaque.
Implants need to be cleaned at and just below the gumline. Plaque can buildup around implants just as much as regular teeth. The ADA recommends dental cleanings every 3 months for people with diabetes, gum disease and dental implants. Also, if you had dental implants placed many years ago, the way the teeth were attached to implants has changed over the past 40 years. I have been seeing more and more cases of people with implants placed 20 years ago that are failing due to localized gum infections from too much plaque and tarter collecting around or under the implant crown or exposed post. Tartar is calcified plaque. Once it attaches to any part of the implant that goes under the gum, it is an easy channel for bacteria to travel down and cause infection.
Would you spend $50,000 to buy a car like a Mercedes, BMW or Audi and then never have it serviced? What about cleaning out the air filter? Without maintenance things fall apart. In dentistry, like with a car, smaller problems are easier and less costly to fix, and have a better outcome of results.
My hygienists and I recommend our implant patients come in at least every 3-4 months for hygiene, or teeth cleaning services. We offer our Plan for Health Wellness Plan, which is a great plan for anyone without insurance or for people needing implant cleaning and maintenance. It includes 3 cleaning a year, all x-rays and exams and a discount on services and products of 10-15%. I personally want to see all of my implant cases succeed and last for a long time. However, it is up to the patient to do their part to help make that happen.
Be well my friends.