Implants and Gum Care
Dental Implants, Overdentures, & Bridges Need Cleaning, too!
Keeping your dental implants clean isn’t just about the implants — you need to take care of the gums, too!
With individual or maybe a couple of dental implants and crowns, keeping them clean is much the same as cleaning your regular teeth. If you have “Snap-On” dentures, aka Dental Implant Overdentures, All-on-4 Implant Dentures, or Dental Implant-supported Bridges, however, how you clean them is quite different. The following are our recommendations for how to take care of them at home. You should also still come see us for routine dental checkups!
You will see links to recommended products below. We do not carry these in our office, nor do we make any money if you purchase from these links, i.e. we are not affiliate resellers. You can find most of these at grocery stores, pharmacies, Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon.
Cleaning Single Implants and Crowns at Home
As mentioned above, if you just have 1, or even a few, individual implants and crowns, please take care of them as you do your regular teeth:
- Brush for 2 minutes, twice a day
- We strongly recommend the use of Sonicare Electric Toothbrushes
- Floss every tooth that you want to keep. 😀
- Make sure to “cup” the floss around the side of each tooth, so it stays in contact up and down, reaching below the gum line. Just going up and down without touching the sides of the teeth doesn’t do much.
- If you’d like, rinse for 30-60 seconds with a non-alcohol based mouthrinse.
How to Clean Implant Overdentures & Implant Bridges
Keeping the implants that support overdentures and bridges clean is just as important, or even more important, than cleaning your regular teeth. Similarly, proper gum care is critical because these types of implant restorations often rely on the underlying gums to help with support and esthetics. After all, you invested a lot of money and time in our office for that overdenture, All-on-4 hybrid denture, or implant bridge. We know you don’t want complications or to risk that investment, and while we hope you like us, you probably don’t want to see us that often ever again. LOL Trust me – we understand. 😀 So here’s how we recommend you take care of that investment at home, and you can download a concise, bullet-point PDF version, too.
- Use a Waterpik at least twice a day. Doesn’t matter if you do it from the front or back. The medium or low setting should be plenty strong, and the high setting might damage the gum attachment immediately around the implants. If the low or medium setting doesn’t do the trick, please let us know.
- Floss under the bridge at least once daily. Super Floss (Oral-B) works well, but if the firm end softens too quickly, tie the Super Floss to a floss threader. Some patients prefer the curved and firmer bridge threaders. You may need to experiment with different ones, to find the ones that work best for you.
- TePe has an excellent line of implant cleaning products. The company offers multiple shapes and sizes of specialty toothbrushes and interdental brushes specifically designed for implants.
- Use a sulcus brush to clean the part of the bridge that transitions to the soft tissue. A sulcus brush is about one-third the width of a traditional toothbrush. Many patients find it easier to use this to clean and massage the tissue contact areas of the bridge.
- Rinse daily with Peroxyl Rinse by Colgate to debride smaller particles from under the bridge. I know it says that it’s for oral sores, but it’s really a hydrogen peroxide product with flavoring and food color to make it taste and look better. It works great!
- Alternately, you can buy a big bottle of hydrogen peroxide and dilute it 50/50 with water. It works just as well, but it doesn’t taste as good.
- If your gums swell up, alternate rinsing with Peroxyl and warm salt water for two to three days. If the swelling continues, please Contact Us to have it checked out.
- Some people love Peridex Oral Rinse, also by Colgate, and others hate it. If you like it or can tolerate it twice a day, that’s awesome, but if not, stick to Peroxyl and don’t feel badly.
- Important Note: Peridex can cause staining of dentures, overdentures, bridges, and teeth. If it does, discontinue using it, although Efferdent may prevent stain build-up on regular dentures and overdentures.