The importance of seeing a Dental Hygienist when you have dental implants

If you have dental implants regular visits to your dental hygienist are important to preventing implant disease which can affect your gums.

By Kate Barker, Dental Hygienist

Dip Dent Hygiene RCS Eng 2006 GDC No: 103699

Many of our patients who have dental implants here at our state-of-the-art practice, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, tell us how much they transform their lives. Implants enable you to enjoy all the benefits of having teeth that look and feel just like natural teeth. They really are one of the most innovative dental techniques available.

However, just like natural teeth, your gums around the dental implants still need regular maintenance and care. Dental implants are marginally more susceptible to infections and require slightly different methods of cleaning and maintenance from the rest of your teeth. So, whether you have a single tooth implant, dental implant bridges, dental implants for dentures or full arch implants it’s essential to take care of your dental implants and to keep them clean and hygienic to prevent infection.

Why your dental implants need regular care from the Hygienist?

Just like real teeth, a good dental hygiene routine is crucial to prevent painful disease and infection. An infection around a dental implant is a form of gum disease known as peri-implantitis. The infection can be the result of smoking, poor oral hygiene routine, illnesses such as diabetes, a compromised immune system, bite misalignment or teeth grinding. If left untreated, the progressive bone loss and infection can cause the implant to fail.

However, following a good oral hygiene routine, including regular visits to your Dental Hygienist, can ensure your implants, other teeth and gums remain clean, healthy and fully functioning for many years to come. At Audley Dental Solutions, our team have successfully carried out over 3,000 dental implants with a success rate of 99%.

What are the signs of dental implant infection?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, book an appointment with your dentist who can quickly diagnose peri-implantitis with a clinical exam and x-ray. The long-term goal is to arrest the progression of the infection and maintain the implant.

  • Loose or wobbly implant
  • Red or puffy gums around the implant
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Throbbing pain or discomfort from the area
  • Dull ache on palpation
  • Exudate (pus) visible from the area
  • Threads are visible on the implant
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Bleeding when brushing around the implant

How to look after your dental implants

When you first receive your dental implants, you will be shown exactly how to look after them, but your regular hygiene appointments are a great chance to refresh your memory, learn how to improve your technique and get reassurance that you are maintaining your dental implants adequately.

There are three main rules for looking after your implants:

#1 Clean diligently around the implanted area

I’ve put together this handy video with top tips for keeping your implants clean and healthy.

#2 Avoid smoking entirely

As well as contributing to infectious gum disease, smoking also lowers your immune system more generally. We strongly advise against smoking after having dental implants but particularly within the first few months of implant surgery.

#3 Look after your general health

A dental implant is a significant surgical procedure. Whilst very safe and with excellent success rates you can help your body recover from the procedure by looking after your health. The most important ways to achieve this are: avoiding stressful activities including strenuous exercise, eating healthily, avoiding alcohol and getting enough sleep.

Don’t miss your regular visits to your Dental Hygienist

As the in-house dental hygienist at Audley Dental Solutions my job is to help patients with maintaining good oral health and to treat disease around dental implants using advanced techniques.

Following dental implants, I recommend patients see me for treatment every 3-6 months depending on their risk of gum disease. Diagnosing gum disease early makes treatment outcomes much more effective so it’s important not to miss these appointments.

During your visit, as well as discussing and advising on your at home dental care routine I will also use a state of the art device called a Perioflow to give your dental implants a deep clean. The Perioflow is a minimally-invasive treatment of periodontal pockets, implant surfaces and interdental spaces and is gentle on both soft and hard tissues. The device uses a mixture of air, water and antibacterial spray to effectively remove any bacteria.

If you’ve had dental implants and would like to speak to an experienced hygienist about any issues you might be experiencing or to discuss how best to look after them, arrange a consultation with me at our beautiful practice on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border.

Simply get in touch via our website: or call us on 01280 848945.