We go back to understanding what a dental implant is, versus what is a dental implant crown, dental implant bridge, or dental implant as an anchor for an overdenture – a snap in/snap out appliance.
So, how do we care for dental implants? There are two main categories. Category one is professional care. That will be recommended in some regimen for you. Also, we have the home care.
As far as the different categories of implants, there are removable and fixed in place. Something that is removable, the patient will be able to remove from their mouth. Anything that comes out of the mouth will have a maintenance protocol for that device or prosthetic. If it’s an acrylic overdenture there are modalities for acrylic overdentures and there are wear recommendations – how often you wear them, how often you take them out, and what you do with them after.
With a fixed in place solution, an individual tooth is generally treated as an individual tooth in the mouth. An individual implanted tooth – a dental implant with a crown- is treated and cared for in a very similar way as a natural tooth would be cared for at home. Professionally, the dentist and hygienist care for it slightly differently but those details are important for the dentist to recognize.
When it comes to a dental implant bridge, something that’s fixed in place that’s cemented in or screwed in on top of these dental implant anchors are again very similar care at home to a fixed bridge on natural teeth. Something that’s cemented in on natural teeth would be cared for with a floss threader, bridge flossing device, or water flossers/hydroflossers. One brand is Waterpik® but there are many of them out there. Generally speaking, when a patient has some major dental implant work with us and ends up with a fixed bridge on dental implants, part of their treatment plan would be to include a Waterpik® or water flosser so that they understand that it should be used to clean underneath that area.
To review: the devices that are cemented or screwed into the mouth, whether it be implant crown or bridges, those are treated like natural teeth. The devices that are removed from the mouth are cared for in similar fashions where a removable denture would be cared for. That being said, dental implants in the mouth need to be cleaned. The way you clean a dental implant whether it’s with a crown attached or has some type of anchorage attachment that is in the mouth, fixed in place, those are brushed with toothpaste and toothbrush.