One common question we get from patients at Pure Dental Arts is on how to properly clean around dental implants. Because of the differences in supporting structure of the dental implant, it can be just as vulnerable to bacteria, inflammation, and bone loss, just like natural teeth! The name of the disease process for implants is called Peri-implantitis. It somewhat mirrors periodontitis of natural teeth.
It is important that you come for your regular cleaning appointment. At that appointment your dentist or hygienist will remove the plaque that has accumulated around your implant crown. Your dentist/hygienist will also assess the following factors:
1) soft tissue assessment: checking for any abnormality in the gum tissues around the implant, like swelling, color changes, etc.
2) plaque index: amount of plaque around implant
3) bleeding on probing: whether there is any bleeding upon probing. Lack of bleeding means the implant is stable and healthy. If there is bleeding then efforts by both the patient and the dentist will be made to reduce it, this means regular cleanings and proper homecare.
As a patient, what can you do to better clean around your implant? A lot of patients may struggle to keep their implant clean due to the different contour and shape of the dental implant. We highly recommend the use of interproximal brushes over traditional floss when cleaning between your implant, as well as making your regular maintenance appointments. In the case that you have persistent inflammation around the implant that is not going away, we may have to refer you to a Periodontist for diagnosis and treatment.
1. Van Velzen, F.J., Lang, N.P., Schulten, E.A., Ten Bruggenkate, C.M. Dentalfloss as a possible risk for the development of peri-implant disease: an observational study of 10 cases. Clin Oral Implants Res.2016 May;27(5):618-21 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26261052
2.Louropoulou, A., Slot, D.E., Barendregt, D.S., van der Weijdent, F.A. Prevention and Treatment of Peri-implant Diseases: Current Evidence on Cleaning of Titanium Dental Implant Surfaces. Int J of Evid Based Pract Dent Hygienist. 2017;3(2): 128-141. Doi: 10.1111607/ebh.137.