Keeping your implant clean: The ongoing battle against biofilm! - Dr Chris Hart: Cosmetic Dentistry Melbourne

Keeping your implant clean: The ongoing battle against biofilm!

May 18, 2016

 Keeping your implant clean: The ongoing battle against biofilm!

Once a successful implant has been placed and a crown or bridge inserted, keeping the implant clean is the next hurdle to maintain your implant long term. Without special attention, the periodontal structures around the implant, the bone and gum, can become infected by the bacteria in plaque (aka biofilm). This can result in “Peri-implantitis” and effectively destabilise the implant from the bone. Early diagnosis of peri-implantitis can improve the prognosis.

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Image 1 shows a periodontal probe (used for bone level assessment) sinking into the tissue surrounding the implant, to roughly 10mm depth. Bleeding and deep gum pockets indicate infection is present.

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Image 2 shows the void left in the bone after it the implant became loose and exfoliated; loss of the implant. The arrow indicates earlier peri-implantitis prior to complete bone loss around the implant.

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Image 3 shows the exfoliated implant still attached to the bridge. Infection is visible on the implant in the form of pus and biofilm.

Fortunately, in a healthy, non-smoker with excellent oral hygiene and no history of diabetes or osteoporosis, this is an uncommon occurrence. Other factors that may increase the risk of this occurring is bruxism (grinding) and a night splint can be worn unify the occlusal load. A consistently good oral hygiene routine is needed to ensure optimal gum health and to create a healthy ‘cuff’ of gum around the implant to reduce bacteria entering into the pockets. Brushing twice a day with an electric toothbrush and using floss/floss strips and/or interdental brushes to clean thoroughly around the implant is strongly encouraged.

Call us today to make an appointment to have a risk analysis for implant suitability or to discuss other options of tooth replacement that may be available to you.

Dr Chris Hart is a specialist prosthodontist at 20 Collins Street Melbourne and Bendigo who provides dental implants, veneers, crowns and bridges.