You have spent a lot of money on your dental implants and/or dental bridges. It is important to take good care of them and keep them as clean as possible to ensure they don’t fail.
I am heartbroken when a patient of mine comes in, and their implant is failing, or they have a cavity underneath their bridge and need a new one.
Prevention is the cheapest form of treatment that you can do. Prevent gum disease around your implants/bridges by following my recommendations below! 🙂
I have compiled a list of resources for you that will help you keep your expensive dental treatments healthy and prevent decay and failure.
Just like normal teeth, implants can fail due to gum disease. And keeping them clean is the best way to prevent that.
There are other factors in implant retention; however, keeping them clean should be a top priority to protect your investment.
If your floss is too smooth, it won’t remove the bacteria and food debris as well, leaving it behind to continue to cause issues.
Regular dental floss is just too thin to clean properly around implants and bridges. I prefer my patients to use something that is a little thicker and has a more rough surface area, such as spongy floss.
My personal favourite is Superfloss, and it is what I recommend and show to each of my patients that has an implant or bridge how to use.
The individual floss pieces have a hard end to thread through the teeth and a thick spongy section in the middle to properly clean around implants and bridges.
Please, PLEASE do NOT use wire interdental brushes that are not coated around dental implants. The wire that the bristles are attached to has the potential to scratch the metal post of your implant if it is not nylon coated.
You can see examples of the brushes not to use in the pictures below.
Even though it can be a microscopic scratch, those microscopic bacteria will make that scratch their new home. You don’t want to use any metal around your implant.
So what do you use instead?
You will want to use GUM brand Soft Picks or IP brushes instead.
The Soft Picks that are linked below are the original. The original may be too thin to clean properly. But, sometimes, when you first get your implant/bridge, the tissues can be higher and really nicely contoured around the implant/bridge, leaving little room to maneuver the Soft Pick. Due to this, you may want to try these original Soft Picks first.
To use them, you want to insert them in between your teeth and gently move them in and out. You can also gently follow the gumline because this is where the bacteria like to hang out the most!
Interdental brushes made by GUM (called Proxabrushes)
This is the brand I recommend to my patients. This is because these GUM Proxabrushes have a coated wire, making them safe to use with implants. The coated wire makes all the difference, so you avoid scratching your implant.
In the link above, you can choose from multiple widths/thicknesses of brush, depending on how much space you have between the teeth.
Waterpik (one of the most underrated dental tools on the market)
Waterpiks are also very effective. They don’t replace flossing but are extremely effective at removing bacteria and food debris that floss misses.
The bacteria in your mouth that cause the most issues can’t live where there is oxygen, so using the Waterpik creates an environment where they cannot thrive.
If you want to find out more about the different bacteria that cause dental diseases, here is a great link that is easy to understand from The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
This allows your body to catch up on the healing process, making all the tissues around your implants and bridges healthy.
If you are someone who travels a lot, Waterpik sells an amazing travel Waterpik.
If you use a Waterpik or plan on getting one, the Plaque Seeker tip is a MUST HAVE! The bristles will help clear away the bacteria and food debris from your dental implant and/or bridge.
The sulcabrush is AMAZING for cleaning around dental implants and bridges. Just like it says on the packaging, “It’s like flossing, yet easier”.
However, it is important to keep in mind that it does not replace flossing. But for those who have decreased dexterity, or those who refuse to floss, or want to add another tool to their oral hygiene routine, the Sulcabrush is right for you!
I give out many of these to my patients, who love them! (They even sell replacement tips (Amazon link) so you keep the waste minimal!)
You can brush your implants and bridges the same as your normal teeth. Just be mindful of where your gum line is because it can be lower than your other teeth. This is especially true for dental implants.
Picture your implant as a tree, with a skinnier trunk (the metal post), and a large canopy of branches and leave it at the top (the crown). This means that there can be an indent under the crown. It can be easily missed when brushing!
As always, I recommend using an electric toothbrush, I use the Oral-B Genius, and it’s my favourite electric toothbrush I have ever used.
After surgery care
With the number of people I’ve seen go through dental implant therapy, I can say that there usually isn’t much inflammation/swelling afterward. Of course, it depends on how extensive the treatment is. But, usually, it’s very straightforward.
You will want to take it easy after your surgery, and if you find you have some swelling, using a cold ice pack/compress will help to reduce the inflammation!
The dentist/oral surgeon will give you all the resources you need for aftercare.
I really hope this information will help you and help make your investments in dental implants/bridges last a very long time!
Have a great day,