Taking care of your implants is just as important as your natural teeth. Just like your natural teeth, there are no guarantees that you will keep them forever. You have to take care of them. They are susceptible to bacteria, infection, and bone loss, if not properly cared for. You have made a large investment in dental implants, and it is an investment worth caring for.
One of the best things about implants is that they cannot decay like natural teeth. However, the metal surfaces of the implant connector pieces are very susceptible to plaque buildup, which can happen fast if not cleaned regularly and thoroughly. This plaque provides a “safe house” of sorts for bacteria, which can work their way down and around the implant in the bone causing bone loss, and eventual implant loss. It is a very similar process to periodontal disease.
You currently are wearing either a Long Term Provisional Bridge (LTP) or your implant retained fixed bridge which is secured in place with six implants. If it's your Long Term Provisional Bridge (LTP), while healing and allowing for the integration (fusion) of the implants with your bone it is extremely important to keep clean the area under your bridge. It is also important to maintain a soft food diet while the implants integrate. A space is left between the bridge and your tissue to allow you to clean. It is very important to have great oral hygiene as this is harder to clean than a regular denture.
To help you clean these areas we are advising:
- Brushing twice daily under the bridge with a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Floss daily with “thick” floss
- Use a water irrigator, waterpik, or hydrofloss making sure you use a low setting and direct the water, horizontally under the bridge around the implants
- Use a proxibrush under the bridge around the implants
- Consider adding chlorehexidine (Peridex) diluted 1:10 in the irrigation unit
You don’t want to brush too “hard” – just effectively.
It is also extremely important to continue with your normal hygiene cleanings. You will need 4 cleaning a year. Most likely at one or two of these appointments, the bridge will be unscrewed, cleaned, and re-screwed back. Periodically a new screw or another part may need replacing. Home care and maintenance of your implants is critically important to their success.