The Role Of Oral Hygiene In The Longevity Of Dental Implants

by Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD | Apr 15, 2024

The long-term success of full mouth dental implants rides on a variety of different factors. At the outset, having implants placed by a highly trained, skilled, and experienced specialist is essential (at Doctors Implants, our doctors are at the top of their field). As you adjust to life with your radiant new smile, however, your own oral hygiene habits come more and more into play. While professional care, maintenance, and cleanings will remain critical throughout the lifespan of your dental implants, establishing excellent oral hygiene practices and implementing them every single day at home will also be one of the most significant factors in your implants’ overall success and longevity.

Below, we’ve provided an overview of the practices involved in full mouth dental implant hygiene and the benefits they can provide when carried out consistently and meticulously. Still have questions about dental implant longevity after reading this article? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Doctors Implants team to learn more.

The Benefits of Excellent Oral Hygiene for Dental Implants

Full mouth dental implants look and function similar to natural teeth. Like natural teeth, they also require careful and consistent cleaning and maintenance. The benefits of oral hygiene for full mouth dental implants can include:

  • Function and Appearance – Clean prosthetic teeth maintain their natural appearance and optimal function over time.
  • Reduce Plaque and Infection – Plaque doesn’t differentiate between natural teeth and prostheses. Keeping plaque at bay can reduce bacterial growth and the risk of inflammation and infection that could compromise your implants’ overall integrity.
  • Bone Health – Support your bone health with a consistent oral hygiene routine that minimizes the risk of bone loss and ensures the long-term stability of your dental implants.
  • Gum Health – Unhealthy gums can lead to numerous oral issues, including inflammation and gum recession, which can decrease the stability and longevity of your dental implants.
  • Reduce Overall Failure Rates – Excellent oral hygiene is one of the most critical determining factors in the long-term success of your dental implants. Reduce your risk of implant failure when you commit to a dedicated maintenance routine.

Clearly, the benefits of superior oral hygiene for full mouth dental implants are extensive. So what exactly is involved in an optimal oral hygiene routine? Let’s take a closer look:

Special Care Immediately Following Dental Implant Surgery

Proper oral hygiene practices begin immediately following full mouth dental implant surgery. On the day of your 6 Hour Smile, you’ll need to rest and apply ice to the surgery site. When you wake up the next day, your new oral hygiene routine can begin in earnest. Here’s what to expect:

  • Days Following Surgery – You’ll rinse your mouth regularly with saltwater and also begin gently brushing your new prostheses with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive gel toothpaste twice per day.
  • Day 11 and Beyond – Around day 11 of your recovery, your doctor will advise you to stop saltwater rinses and begin using a Waterpik on the gentle setting to clean between your prostheses every time you brush.
  • Final Teeth – Approximately 5-7 months after your 6 Hour Smile, you’ll have your Final Delivery appointment at Doctors Implants and receive your final teeth. At this point, you’ll continue to implement the excellent oral health routine you’ve already established on an ongoing basis

Proper Dental Implant Cleaning Techniques

Proper dental implant cleaning techniques are similar to proper cleaning techniques for natural teeth. They include:

  • Brushing at least twice daily with an extra soft bristle toothbrush. (I don’t recommend  electric toothbrush personally)
  • Using a Waterpik to clean between and around prostheses every time your brush

In addition to these daily care routines, general maintenance tips for increasing the longevity of your dental implants include:

  • Using a night guard if you grind your teeth at night
  • Smoking cessation (including the cessation of all oral nicotine products ie smokeless tobacco and vape).
  • Attending annual maintenance appointments.

For more extensive information about full mouth dental implant maintenance, see our post titled Dental Implant Maintenance Tips.

Reduce the Risk of Plaque Build-Up

Tooth plaque is a biofilm made up of bacteria that builds up on teeth and gums. It can contribute to many different oral health issues, including tooth decay, discoloration, gum disease, and infection. Consistent and properly executed oral hygiene removes dental plaque from each implant surface and mitigates the risks associated with its build-up.

Implant-Specific Care Techniques

In addition to the standard oral hygiene practices outlined above, here are a few more habits that may further promote the overall longevity and success of your full mouth dental implants:

  • Use an Interdental Brush – Your doctor may recommend the use of an interdental brush, a tiny toothbrush that can help you reach hard-to-access areas between teeth and around each implant site.
  • Use an Antimicrobial Mouthwash – Using an antimicrobial mouthwash after brushing and using a Waterpik can further enhance the cleanliness of your mouth throughout the day.
  • Drink Plenty of Water – Water not only helps keep you hydrated and contributes to your overall well-being, it also rinses your implants and flushes away lingering food particles throughout the day.

The Importance of Maintenance Appointments

Maintenance is also an integral component of your implant care and health. It may be tempting to skip appointments, especially if your implants are looking and feeling good, but here are some reasons why you shouldn’t:

  • The special tools and techniques used during professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar that has built up over time, especially in tough-to-reach places.
  • Implant check-ups can be the key to detecting (and resolving) potential issues before they become problematic.
  • Regular professional care helps prevent infections and promotes jawbone bone health.

At Doctors Implants, your doctor will see you for a number of scheduled appointments in the weeks and months following your 6 Hour Smile. Once your final teeth have been placed and adjusted, you’ll typically see your doctor once a year for a cleaning and check-up, though more frequent appointments are available on an at-need basis.

Are you ready to begin your dental implant journey with our exceptional team of doctors and support staff? We encourage you to book a free consultation to learn more about the 6 Hour Smile and receive personalized answers to all of your questions about full mouth dental implant health, including how best to clean and maintain them.

Call 1-844-SMILES2 to set up your initial appointment today!

About the Author

Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD

Dr. Andrew Mueller loves being an oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. After completing both dental and then medical school, he did a general surgery residency and an oral/maxillofacial surgery residency (both at Parkland hospital in Dallas, Texas). He has performed countless general anesthetics in the operating room, learning how to safely put patients to sleep and wake them back up.

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