Maintenance once dental implants are fitted and in function is as important as achieving optimum oral health before any cosmetic procedures. As such, patients should attend regular dental and hygiene follow-up appointments to prevent any complications.
The most likely cause of implant failure is inadequate oral hygiene. If plaque is not removed effectively around implants – and the oral hygiene is poor – the bacteria will build up on the implant surface. Increase in the bacteria population will cause inflammation of the gum and bone surrounding the implant.
If left untreated, the inflammation affecting the gum (peri-implant mucositis) can progress to serious bone loss around the implant (peri-implantitis). Left untreated, the implant becomes loose and eventually it loses its anchorage with the bone and exfoliates.
The world of periodontology and dental implants are fascinating. The combination gives me the opportunity to act towards the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and to restore function and aesthetics for patients who are missing their teeth.
It was clear to me that I needed to be able to offer treatments that are life changing for my patients. It is obvious that periodontal disease can lead to compromised chewing, speech problems, loss of confidence, anxiety and stress and a series of health, psychological and social problems. Periodontics and dental implants offered the opportunity for me to recreate stunning smiles for my patients.
The equipment that ensures an excellent treatment result and increased patient satisfaction with minimally traumatic medicine and dentistry can change every health professional’s life. For me, the three pieces of equipment that profoundly changed my practice and enabled me to apply the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art procedures are:
- Periodontal lasers for the treatment of gum disease
- Piezoelectric surgical units, which allow for cutting with precision, ensuring almost blood-free surgical sites
- Patented Chao pinhole surgical technique instruments that allow minimally invasive gum rejuvenation treatments for the correction of gum recession.
Additionally, it is essential to teach our implant patients the importance of oral health and how best to achieve this. I use a combination of brushing and flossing demos and tips on teeth models as well as animated videos. There is always an opportunity chairside to demonstrate hygiene equipment – from the Oral-B electric toothbrush demo unit, with all the different heads, to all the interdental and single-tufted brushes, floss and tongue scrapers.
I demonstrate on the model and then match the products to patient and ask them to demonstrate back to me to ensure they understood the techniques and how to use the products. The majority of periodontal patients suffer from sensitive receding gums and it is important that they use a sensitive clean head with their electric toothbrush to avoid further trauma on their teeth and gums. Rinsing with mouthwash and the use of interdental brushes are also essential towards gum health.
Perfecting the technique
A number of patients cannot control the pressure that they apply when they brush, which leads to tooth and gum trauma. Electric toothbrushes containing pressure sensors that alert the patient when too much pressure is applied and reduce the brush speed so as to avoid trauma, are perfect.
I am excited by the introduction of a new electric toothbrush from Oral-B called Genius, which uses technology in combination with an iPhone to show patients where in the mouth they’ve brushed and where they’ve missed. Such technology is a great adjunct to professional instruction, as it will reinforce what we as dental professionals strive to perfect.
Patients will need to be committed to their oral hygiene if they want the satisfaction and renewed confidence that comes with implant placement.