Dental prostheses and dental implants can be life-changing. They can restore a patient’s ability to eat comfortably, talk normally, and otherwise participate in the day to day activities. Dental prostheses come in many forms to fill various needs, but they all share the same goal of improving the patient’s quality of life and ensuring that their smile is the best that it can be.

Many kinds of dental prostheses and dental implants replace natural teeth, and like natural teeth, most dental implants are intended to last a long time. However, they’re also like natural teeth in that they require care and cleaning in order to provide good service. So, why is it important to keep your dental implants clean? What kind of care do they require, and how do you give it to them?

Why You Need to Clean Your Dental Implants and Prostheses

The human mouth is a warm, wet environment, perfect for bacteria growth. This is why dentists and other oral health professionals place such emphasis on regular brushing and flossing and trips to the dentist for cleanings–these all help ensure that bacteria don’t become plaque or tartar, or result in cavities. All of these can lead to gum disease, tooth damage, or even tooth loss.

As we’ve said, your dental implants or prosthesis function much like natural teeth. Like natural teeth, they spend most if not all of their time inside your mouth, where they can become a home for bacteria. If left unaddressed, these bacteria can cause a variety of problems. As they build up in the biofilm layer on the teeth and implants, they can become dental plaque or tartar, which can lead to cavities, receding gums, gum disease, or even tooth loss. On some dental prostheses, like removable dentures, they can host other bacteria like candida, streptococcus, and staphylococcus. These can in turn lead to a variety of infections of the mouth, throat, and sinus cavities.

Ideally, your dental implants make your life better instead of making you sick. This is why regular and thorough cleanings are so important!

How to Clean Your Dental Implants and Prostheses

Now that we understand the why, let’s take a look at how to clean your dental implants. This varies depending on the kind of implant and the oral health needs of the patient, but there are some general ideas we can look to. Most permanent prostheses–some bridges, crowns and caps, and dental implants–require the same care as natural teeth. With regular brushing and flossing, use of mouthwash, and a healthy diet, all they’ll need is twice a year trips to the dentist for an exam and cleaning and they should last a lifetime. Your dentist can instruct you on how to best care for your dental prosthetics, as everyone’s needs and circumstances are different.

Removable dentures require a bit more care. In general, your dentures should be cleaned at least once a day. Generally, this is done before bedtime. The most common way to clean dentures goes like this:

  1. Remove the dentures from your mouth and rinse them under running water to remove any debris or food particles.
  2. Soak the dentures in the denture cleaning solution recommended by your dentist.
  3. Gently rise them again, and then brush your dentures with a denture brush and an approved cleaning solution. Be sure to thoroughly clean every surface.
  4. Clean your mouth and gums with a soft brush and a saline solution, as recommended by your dentist.

As you can see, it’s a lot like cleaning natural teeth, except with a few more surfaces to attend to. Properly cared for dentures will provide years of service and help keep your mouth healthy and happy.