When it comes to teeth or implants, you need to make sure that they are maintained on a regular basis because things that are neglected by patients can fail. What is maintenance? It is a combination of seeing your dentist on a regular basis- every 6 months, and flossing and brushing your teeth twice every day. It may also include wearing a night guard.
Patients with one or several single unit implants –
Your maintenance is just the same – treat the implant and implant crown much like it is a natural tooth. That is what implants were designed for. You should maintain your regular dental hygiene appointments, floss ALL TEETH and the area around the implant, and brush twice per day. Remember dental hygiene appointments are needed twice a year for healthy patients, and four times a year for patients diagnosed with periodontal disease!. It may be recommended for you to also wear a night guard, if so wear this every night.
Patients with an All on Four – Permanently Attached Prosthesis
Patients who cannot remove their prosthesis that is attached to four or more dental implants have different challenges when it comes to cleaning their teeth. Since the prosthesis is not removable, it must be cleaned in a special way.
- Use a water pick that has an adjustable flow. You will place the nozzle at the junction between the tissue and the prosthesis. Spray water from the cheek side and the tongue side.
- Use Superfloss. There is a poky straight end, work this through and underneath, then floss in-between the implants. This mechanically debrides the surface.
- Brush the prosthesis with a toothbrush BUT NO TOOTH PASTE. Toothpaste can scratch the acrylic and the facing of the prosthesis teeth. If you have opposing natural teeth these will need to be brushed with toothpaste, I recommend using 2 different toothbrushes so you don’t get confused.
- Night guard- Anything man made will wear, a night guard helps keep your teeth separated during the night time to help lower wear and tear on your all on four prosthesis.
Patients with a snap on style denture
If you have dental implants and your denture can come in and out of the mouth with 2-4 implants then the following is for you. Remember, you will need to have the snaps in the denture changed every 6-9 months, there is a fee in our office for this, and you also need to have the implants cleaned every 6 months to 1 year. Here is the needed maintenance:
- Remove your dentures at night to let your tissues rest. For patients that deny this request, then leave the dentures out for 1 hour at some point during the day. When removed place them in water.
- Brush your dentures with a denture brush and soap/water on a nightly basis. Be sure to clean the nylon retention inserts or snaps inside the denture- this helps to keep food from limiting your ability to “snap in”
- Brush your gold posts sticking through the gums with a tooth brush and tooth paste
- Brush your tongue and all mucosal (pink) areas to debride
- Soak your dentures with polydent tabs if you prefer, but only do this once a week. More frequent will discolor your dentures. NEVER place dentures in bleach
- See our hygienist every 6 months – 1 year for cleaning
- Have the nylon retention inserts changed when they no longer engage the abutment, this can be every 6-9 months or longer.
Enjoy your teeth, take care of them and take care of your implants. The better you are at taking care of your mouth and implants the longer things will last.