If you have just had your implant prosthesis inserted or are considering an implant prosthesis, you may be wondering what procedures are necessary for the proper maintenance of your new prosthesis. The home care needed for dental implants is just as important as that required for your natural teeth. There are many areas around the implants and the prosthesis that need special attention to make sure that dental plaque does not accumulate. As with your own teeth, plaque, a sticky substance that adheres to teeth and is a breeding area for bacteria, must be removed at least every 12 hours to avoid potential periodontal (peri-implant) disease.

The care of your Implant Prosthesis consists of three steps:
1. Educating and training you about proper oral hygiene techniques.
2. Removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) on a regularly scheduled basis by your Hygienist.
3. Maintaining meticulous oral hygiene between your recall visits.

Home plaque control is a critical component of your implant care. The following devices have proved to be extremely helpful in plaque removal:
  • Soft Toothbrush, End Tuft Brush, Proxy Brush™v
  • Dental Floss (i.e. Post Care Dental Implant Floss, SuperFloss™)
  • Electric Toothbrushes
  • Oral Irrigation Devices ( i.e. Water Pik™)
  • Mouthwashes
Individual Instruction sheets are available for each of the above mentioned cleaning aids. You can get these from your dentist or hygienist. The proper maintenance of your dental implant prosthesis must be a good blend of proper hygiene technique and using appropriate instrumentation. Your hygienist will suggest a suitable recall schedule for you based upon the complexity of your dental restoration. She or he will also demonstrate each and every technique so that you can become familiar with the devices that are required for implant care.

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)/Orofacial Pain

A collective term that defines a number of problems that involve the chewing muscles and associated structures, the joint in front of the ear that facilitates opening and closing of the jaw (TMJ), or both.

TMD symptoms may be brought on by stress, a blow to the jaw or head, a sudden, violent shaking of the head (whiplash), a recently placed high restoration in which the bite doesn't feel even, long dental appointments when the mouth may have been open for extended periods of time, or local anesthetic injections. Some components of TMD may involve pain in the chewing muscles or directly at the site of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Additional symptoms may be popping or clicking of the jaw, jaw locking, ear ache, headache, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), uneven bite, neck or shoulder pain, or clenching or grinding of the teeth (bruxism).

Treatment may include but not be limited to the following:
  • Patient education
  • Moist heat or ice
  • Splint therapy-use of a removable appliance to help stabilize the inflamed chewing muscles and/or the TMJ
  • Medications (anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety, anti-depressants)
  • Physical therapy-muscle strengthening and range of motion exercises involving the head, neck, shoulder, and jaw
  • Stress management
  • Orthodontics
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Oral surgery
  • Referrals to medical specialists as indicated (ENT, neurologist, sleep disorder physician, psychologist, rheumatologist, internal medicine)
The length of treatment will vary depending on the severity and persistence of the symptoms. This can be from a few weeks to several years. Some patients never completely become free of their pain even with appropriate treatment. These patients may be referred to a chronic pain clinic for management of their disorder.

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