The importance of regular dental check-ups
The importance of regular half-yearly and yearly follow-ups and tartar removal cannot be emphasised enough. Problems do not go beyond control if the condition of teeth and implants is monitored continuously and in the event of an issue timely measures are taken. Problems nipped in the bud can be helped more easily and at less expense. Follow-ups may shed light on the shortcomings of home care which are very easy to remedy. At the regular follow-ups the dentist and dental hygienist will readily demonstrate the ins and outs of home dental care. Do not hesitate to ask any questions as the long-term success of the finished tooth replacement is in everyone’s interest.
Bottom view of implant-supported full-arch bridge. Substantial tartar deposits having accumulated over the years are clearly visible (you can imagine the rest for yourselves…) Negligence of hygiene can greatly compromise the long-term success of the implants and contributes to the development of bad breath (halitosis)
What happens at the annual follow-ups?
- A panoramic radiograph is recorded of the oral cavity.
- If inflammation appears around the implants, or clinical or radiological symptoms (such as bleeding, red, inflamed gums, pain, bone resorption, pus excretion around the implant, deep periodontal pockets detectable with a periodontal probe) indicate the presence of peri-implantitis, the dentist may immediately request a 3 dimensional CBCT X-ray scan.
- The condition of the teeth, periodontium, implants and the tooth replacement is examined.
- A bite-check is also performed and any deviations are adjusted. Over the years our natural teeth, plastic dentures and ceramic bridges are continuously wearing away resulting in uneven occlusion which needs to be adjusted from time to time so that both sides are evenly loaded when biting or chewing.
- Professional tartar removal is performed and tooth surfaces are polished.
- If home care is found inadequate techniques of proper dental care are explained again and appropriate dental care products are recommended.
- In the event of an issue a treatment plan is drawn up with which to remedy the issue having developed.
It is common belief that tooth replacements need not undergo professional tartar removal, but this is a misconception. Tooth replacements and bridges are equally prone to tartar deposits making it essential that regular dental cleaning is carried out at least once or twice a year by a dental hygienist.
4 month-old removable provisional denture. A thick tartar deposit having built up as a result of poor hygiene is clearly visible.
Complying with instructions below can go a long way in preserving your teeth and tooth replacements.
- Do not smoke.
- Visit the clinic for regular dental check-ups and professional tartar removal.
- Do not hesitate to inquire with our colleagues if you are at a loss as to which home dental care products to use. We will readily assist you in choosing the most appropriate one and instruct you on its usage.
- Thoroughly brush year teeth and cleanse your tooth replacements of food remains using an interdental brush after each meal, several times a day.
- Use a dental floss (Super Floss) in case of bridges and implant bars to thoroughly clean your bridges, preps and the metal framework.
- In the event of diabetes see that your blood glucose levels are properly adjusted.
- Inform your dentist of your medications currently taken (e. g. blood thinner, bisphosphonate)!
- Avoid the consumption of aerated and sugary drinks.
It is supremely important to stress that having received a tooth replacement is not tantamount to being exempt from visiting a dental clinic. Our new teeth should be conceived of as a new car rolling out of the dealership requiring regular servicing and inspection in addition to washing and grooming. Annual check-ups and professional tartar removal are warranty conditions.
In conclusion, below is a list of cases where a drastic treatment could have been prevented had the patient undergone regular dental check-ups. The problems could have been discovered earlier, and their timely treatment could have been initiated:
Case 1: The teeth of 62 year-old patient had to be removed as they were beyond repair due to progressive horizontal and vertical bone resorption. The preps under the old bridge, that is, the natural teeth supporting the old bridge were severely affected by periodontal disease (chronic periodontitis) the teeth were steeped in pus and transformed into dental foci. If the treatment of periodontitis had begun several years earlier with timely sub- and supragingival tartar removal performed the patient’s teeth would never have fallen into such a state of disrepair. In the first sitting, all 16 teeth were extracted and the restoration of the complete oral cavity took place…
Case 2: Male patient aged 46. Due to the omission of regular check-ups and heavy smoking the implants had to be removed seeing as they had developed peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis shows as dark shadows around the implants. Preps under the old tooth replacements (original teeth modified to support tooth replacements) had been severely affected by periodontal disease (chronic periodontitis) and turned into dental foci. All his teeth and the implants had to be removed and the oral cavity underwent complete restoration.
Inflammation around the implants (shadow) in an intraoral X-ray scan
Inflammation and bone resorption around the teeth in intraoral X-ray images
Follow-up panoramic radiograph following the removal of implants and teeth