Implants and teeth can present mechanical complications, such as fractures, wear of the ceramic of the prosthesis, loosening of the crown, etc. There may also be biological complications, such as peri-implant diseases such as mucositis or peri-implantitis, or failure of osseointegration. These complications can lead to having to explant an implant at some point or to shortening its lifespan. Therefore, to increase the useful life of implants, it is necessary to prevent these complications.
Dr. Ana Molina, member trainer of the Spanish Society of Periodontics and Dental Implants (SEPA), points out that in order to prevent complications, it is necessary to obtain good planning and execution of the case by a duly qualified dentist.
In addition, the specialist considers it very important that the patient regularly visits the dentist and that the specialist monitors the health of the tissues around the implant, in addition to doing regular cleanings that help the patient to control and eliminate dental lesions. plaque. , causing tissue inflammation.
A very common mistake in the maintenance of implants is to think that they require less care than teeth, since it is a metal and ceramic prosthesis. The specialist specifies that “dental implants are more delicate than teeth and the elimination of dental plaque (that is to say the accumulation of bacteria and food debris in the mouth) must be even more advanced around the teeth. implants only around the teeth.
Regular attendance of maintenance visits is essential because dental implants are, unlike the tooth, an inert element, they do not have a nerve, and when an inflammatory type complication occurs in the surrounding tissues (peri-implant mucositis or peri-implantitis), the patient does not perceive alarm symptoms such as pain, swelling or bleeding, and therefore they go unnoticed. “This is why proper oral hygiene around dental implants is vital, added to periodic check-ups with your dentist to detect any warning signs”, insists the SEPA member.
The fundamental guideline for the maintenance of implants is correct oral hygiene. “You should brush your teeth and implants at least 3 times a day, with a manual or electric brush, then use an interdental hygiene device, such as dental floss or interdental brushes to finish removing plaque deposits. dental that remain between the teeth. “, adds.
In addition, Dr. Molina indicates that the dentist will be responsible for instructing each patient on the type of appliance to be used for interdental hygiene, its size and the correct mode of use. “If the prosthesis on implants is removable, after each meal, it must be removed for good hygiene of the implants in the mouth and of the prosthesis itself, before reinstalling it in its position”To add.
The specialist does not consider the use of dental irrigators to be fundamental for the care of implants, she believes that mechanical cleaning by friction with a toothbrush, with dental floss, or with interdental brushes is much more effective than the use of irrigators to remove dental plaque. Dental irrigators would only be indicated in certain types of prostheses on implants which are not removable and which have a pink skirt or extension which simulates the patient’s gums and which prevents the introduction under the prosthesis of other mechanical devices of hygiene such as interdental brushes. “In all other cases, the use of toothbrushes and interdental or bristle brushes is preferable to the use of irrigated brushes. And if the irrigator is used, it should never replace conventional toothbrushing,” he says. Molina.
Another aspect to take into account are the risk factors that make a subject more predisposed to suffer from peri-implant diseases. Risk factors include:
– History of periodontitis: Patients who have lost their teeth due to periodontitis or pyorrhea are at increased risk of developing peri-implant disease. This is why they must be the subject of a more exhaustive follow-up than patients without a history of periodontitis.
– Smoking: The consumption of tobacco, in addition to its deleterious effects on general health, has a very negative effect on the periodontal and peri-implant tissues, increasing the risk of the appearance of these diseases; This is why smoking cessation should be promoted among all patients in the dental office, and especially among those with periodontal disease or with dental implants.