Dental implants. Care and maintenance
Dental implants require regular professional maintenance as well as proper home care. Taking good care of dental implants is vital for long-term success.
Proper and thorough oral hygiene is a prerequisite for successful dental implant rehabilitations. A poor oral hygiene greatly increases the risk of failure.
After placement, implants need to be cleaned (similar to natural teeth) with a Teflon instrument (or other type) to remove any plaque. Because of the more precarious blood supply to the gingiva, care should be taken with dental floss.
Fixed implant restorations (crowns, bridges) should be carefully cleaned as well. For example, a bridge should be brushed at least twice a day with a fluoride paste and cleaned between the teeth and under the bridge with dental floss, interdental cleaners and water jet.
dental implant cleaned with a Teflon instrument
implant supported crown : flossing
Removable dentures supported by implants should be daily removed and cleaned separately. Special attention should be given to the underneath gum area.
Regular checkups should be conducted at least twice a year. During checkups, the practitioner assesses the overall situation, verifies implants stability and integration, the status of the prosthetic devices and makes the necessary adjustments.
The oral mucosa is checked and a professional teeth cleaning and tartar scaling is performed. The patients should report any pain, discomfort or unusual signs.
Implant rehabilitations should not be overloaded
Implant supported prosthesis should not be used in an exaggerated manner. It is advisable to avoid biting on extremely hard pieces of food: peanuts or pistachios, very hard bread crumbs, etc.
Besides that, there are conditions that can be extremely harmful for dental implants and the prosthetic devices. For example, bruxism is a condition that involves involuntary habitual grinding of the teeth, typically during sleep.
It is advisable that patients contact the doctor as soon as they notice the first signs of such conditions.
Maintenance of removable dentures
Removable dentures and overdentures require continuous maintenance. The female adapters that are housed in the denture need to be changed or refreshed every one to two years because they wear off. The operation is extremely simple and quick.
Relining or rebasing is indicated when a removable denture fit has worsened resulting in an unstable denture or tissue trauma. A denture reline involves refitting of the tissue side of the denture to custom fit to the mouth.
A removable denture fit can worsen due to 2 possible causes :
- The manufacturing material (normally acrylic) from the base of the denture has worn off or/and
- The bone beneath the denture underwent a process of remodeling and has diminish its height
removable denture relining
Relining consists of replacing the fitting surface with a new material, usually cold or heat cured acrylic or tissue conditioner. This can be carried out directly (at the dental office) or, more often, indirectly (at the dental lab). The procedure takes little time (1 session) and it is not very expensive.