All-on-4 dental implants — a type of implant-supported denture — require special care to ensure they last a lifetime and that your oral health stays tiptop. If you're wondering how to clean all-on-4 dental implants, the good news is there are some steps you can incorporate into your daily oral hygiene routine.
These steps include water flossing, regular flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and using a special sulcus brush — don't worry, we'll talk more about just what that is below.
Keep reading to find out:
- How to clean permanent implant dentures
- The best products to use
- Dentist-approved tips and tricks
We hope this information helps you keep your smile clean, beautiful, and healthy.
Table of contents
How to clean permanent implant dentures: 5 easy steps
- Brush twice daily: Just as you would with natural teeth, you need to brush your new teeth twice daily. To do so, use a high-quality, soft-bristled toothbrush — manual or electric is fine. Brush your teeth for 2 to 3 minutes, using a gentle circular motion. Don't forget to brush along the gumline at a 45-degree angle.
- Use a water flosser: Use the medium or low setting to water floss between your teeth and under the bridge of your implants. You can aim the water from the lip or tongue side of your teeth — whichever is most comfortable for you.
- Floss under the bridge: You should floss at least once daily under the bridge. You can use a product like Super Floss from Oral-B, which has a stiff end and a fluffier middle, or you can use a floss threader.
- Use a sulcus brush: A sulcus brush is 1/3 the width of a normal toothbrush and is great for cleaning along the line between the bridge and your soft tissue.
- Rinse with antiseptic mouthwash: A mouthwash like Colgate's Peroxyl can be used daily to wash away smaller particles from under the bridge and decrease irritation and swelling.
Best all-on-4 implant cleaning products
TePe is known for its interdental brushes, but they also make a special implant toothbrush. This brush features an extra narrow brush head and a thin neck. The super-slim head design allows it to better clean small cracks and crevices.
The extra-soft bristles are aligned in two rows for better access to the gumline and the base of implants. The neck is flexible so it can be angled when run under hot water. This also makes it easier to access the gumline.
You can use an antiseptic mouthwash daily to soothe inflammation and wash away any debris that might still be left over after you've brushed and flossed.
Colgate's Peroxyl mouthwash is designed specifically to soothe oral sores and other irritation, including those caused by dentures and other oral appliances.
It's made with 1.5% hydrogen peroxide and is alcohol-free so you don't have to worry about that harsh burning sensation. The hydrogen peroxide works with oxygenation, which makes it especially effective at removing oral debris.
And as an added plus, its mild mint flavor will leave your breath delightfully fresh.
CariPRO makes a water flosser that features 4 specialty flossing tips, including one made specifically for dental implants. There are 3 different flossing modes — normal, soft, and pulse, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
The 360-degree rotating tip also makes it easy to clean your implant bridge from either the front or the back. This flosser has a waterproof design for use in the shower and lasts for 28 days on a single charge.
If you've ever had braces, you might already be familiar with Oral-B Super Floss. This floss is designed for use with braces, implants, and any other fixed appliances you might have in your mouth.
It works so well with appliances because it features a firm dental floss threader on one end, a section of spongy floss to grab more food particles, and a section of regular floss.
Here's what one reviewer has to say about using it for bridges:
“These are the best floss to get under a bridge. They thread nicely and have a slightly fluffy area that helps to make sure that anything under the bridge is cleaned out. “
A sulcus brush features a small brush head with a single tuft of bristles. These do wonders for cleaning around crowns, bridges, and implants, as they are designed to clean along the gum line to remove plaque and improve gum health.
The Sulcabrush is angled to reach the top or bottom arches and comes with 3 replacement tips for each end of the handle.
It's a simple product but is a great way to keep up your gum health when you have all-on-4 implants.
What happens if you don't clean all-on-4 dental implants?
There are various complications that can develop if you don't keep your implants clean. In an article for DentistryiQ, Dr. John A. Hodges describes how one patient developed speech issues and pain in her gums.
Dr. Hodges removed her bridge to find that there was a buildup of food debris which caused the patient to develop a fungal infection. This was thanks to a combination of poor surgical preparation for the dental restoration and poor oral hygiene.
Not cleaning your bridge will eventually lead to some sort of infection, with symptoms like bad breath, pus, bleeding, pain, swelling, and fever. Eventually, your implants can become loose and even fall out.
In other words — clean your implants. Not doing so can lead to implant failure and severe oral health problems.
Frequency of dental cleaning appointments
When you have implant-supported dentures like all-on-4 implants, it's likely that you'll need to visit your dentist more often than you normally would, to ensure everything is functioning as it should. Your dentist will tell you how frequent your visits should be, but in general, plan on making appointments at 3-month intervals for hygiene visits.
During these visits, the dental hygienist will check for gum disease and look for any other factors that might promote disease or infection. They will also give your bridge a good clean, using special scaling tools, and let you know if there's anything you should adjust in your daily oral hygiene routine.
It's critical to keep your all-on-4 dentures clean — equally so as it is to keep natural teeth clean. If you don't, you are likely to develop an infection, leading to all sorts of health problems.
What's more, if you have an infection in your gums, after a while, your dental implants could actually loosen and fall out.
It's true that your dental implants will require a bit of extra care than you might normally take with natural teeth. But it's important that you make the steps above a part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
- Brush twice daily
- Floss at least once daily
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash
And when in doubt, help keep your all-on-4 implants clean with these specially designed products:
TePe implant brush
Cleans implants with soft brustles and a narrow design
Relieves irritation and washes away debris with antiseptic properties
CariPRO water flosser
Washes debris away from under bridges and around crowns
Oral-B Super Floss
Makes it easier to floss with implants
Cleans along the gumline
How do you floss all-on-4 implants?
Flossing all-on-4 implants isn't the same process as flossing a single implant, or a natural tooth. In general, the technique involves pulling the floss in between the implant bridge and the gumline.
This video shows how it works:
How do you clean under dental implants?
You can clean under dental implants using a combination of dental floss, water flossers and mouthwash. It's important to use all of these so that no food particles are left behind.
DentistryiQ: Hygiene protocol for full-arch All-on-4 fixed bridges. Consulted 25th June 2022.