DENTAL IMPLANTS AND BRIDGES

It is extremely important that you apply a little extra special care to keep the implants and bridges clean. Regular oral hygiene techniques are not enough, and if dental plaque builds up around either an implant or bridge, its health status and long-life will be compromised. Here we will give information on cleaning implants and bridges and recommend the most appropriate products to use. Remember to always follow the advice of your dentist and dental hygienist as they know your own individual circumstances and will have tailored their advice just for you.

IMPLANT CARE

Your dental implant visit will be around every three months, depending upon your circumstances, to check and make sure your home care is excellent and there are no problems developing with the implant and its integration with the jawbone and the surrounding gum tissues. With good daily care, your visits may be extended to six months and your implant may last a lifetime.

 

Between these visits, if any sensitivity, bleeding, or looseness develops, arrange to see your dentist.

 

Clean all your natural teeth thoroughly with a toothbrush with tapered bristles to reach under the gumline. Between-teeth cleaning can be performed with interdental brushes or dental floss. Interdental brushing is generally easier to perform and is as effective as flossing.

 

Figure: A dental implant acts like the root of a tooth that is missing.

 

The implants need special care. No single device can remove dental plaque from all surfaces of an implant. Clean the crown of the implant with the same toothbrush used for your natural teeth. Interdental brushes with small brush heads, such as the GUM® Proxabrush® Go-Betweens® Cleaners, help gain easy access to the hard-to-reach areas. Only use only interdental brushes which have nylon-coated wire, as any exposed metal may scratch and damage the implant surface allowing the implant to harbor bacteria that could cause infection and peri-implantitis (inflamed tissues around the implant). Floss that expands, such as GUM® Expanding® Floss, can be useful around implants. There are also devices that will help thread floss around implants such as GUM® Postcare Flossing Aids and GUM® Easy Thread™ Floss.

 

CARE OF BRIDGES

Also known as a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth by literally bridging the gap where any natural teeth are missing. The forces and stresses of the bridge are supported by the abutment teeth that should provide a solid foundation for the bridge. It is extremely important to protect the health of the abutment teeth to ensure a long life for the bridge and the teeth supporting it. Toothbrushing twice a day and between teeth cleaning at least once per day are essential. As bridges are designed for your own particular individual circumstances, it is not possible to give specific instructions, just some general principles. Your dental hygienist is the expert in the health of the tissues around teeth, implants, and bridges and he/she will give definitive advice. The bridge will have a narrow gap between its span, or pontic, and the underlying gum. It is critical to clean under this pontic area and around the gum margins of the supporting or abutment teeth. To best accomplish cleaning these areas of special need, there are a variety of floss threaders and fine interdental brushes or picks.

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