Implant Practice Tips

Anthony Sclar, DMD, OMFS, Miami, Fla


The Importance of an Effective Oral Hygiene Regimen Using a Sonicare Toothbrush and AirFloss Pro for Long-Term Success of Dental Implant Restorations in a Private Practice

Figure 1. Prior to dental implant rehabilitation with All-on-4 (Nobel Biocare) full-arch immediate function, a pa­tient suffering from failing dentition was unable to perform an effective oral hygiene regimen with a manual toothbrush and flossing.
Figure 2. A Sonicare Elite-powered toothbrush was used to remove plaque from abutments and intaglio surface of maxillary full-arch All-on-4 hybrid provisional restoration 10 days post-surgery.
Figure 3. Twice daily use of a Sonicare-powered toothbrush and Sonicare AirFloss was used to remove plaque and food debris from abutments and definitive maxillary full-arch All-on-4 hybrid restoration 3 years following delivery. This resulted in a healthy and accessible peri-implant soft-tissue environment.

In our practice, the initial success of dental implants is 99.6%, a remarkable statistic considering the majority of our patients present with complex case scenarios including (1) failing dentition, (2) ad­vanced atrophic edentulism, and (3) partial edentulous areas with deficient anatomy requiring a grafting procedure prior to implant placement. Although some patients have a genetic predisposition that leads to their compromised dental condition, I think that we can all agree that ineffective personal oral hygiene and lack of regular dental care were likely the causative factors that led to compromised dental health for these patients. Understandably, in our practice, it is the subset of patients suffering from failing dentition and edentulism who regularly undergo full-arch fixed implant rehabilitation with conventional or the All-on-4 immediate function protocols (Nobel Biocare) that benefit most from use of Philips’ innovative technology as part of their oral hygiene regimen (Figure 1).
This makes perfect sense because these patients are often unable to implement an effective personal oral hygiene regimen due in part to lack of dexterity, pa­tience, or knowledge or the presence of pain. Consequently, these patients are educated to implement effective oral hygiene that will facilitate maintenance of their implant restorations and promote peri-implant health. In our practice, this is best achieved with the use of the Sonicare toothbrush in conjunction with the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Pro on the exposed abutments twice daily (Figures 2 and 3).
During consultation and clinical evaluation, we educate patients about what is required from them to maintain the long-term health of their future implant restorations. We emphasize the importance of an effective daily oral hygiene regimen that avoids peri-implant inflammatory-infectious disease, which causes implant failure. Patients who demonstrate the need to improve their oral hygiene regimen before moving forward with implant therapy are encouraged to use the Sonicare-powered toothbrush (eg, the Elite, Diamond­Clean, or FlexCare Platinum models) along with an AirFloss Pro twice daily to improve plaque scores, gingival inflammation, and gingival bleeding.
We educate patients on the use of both the Sonicare toothbrush and Air­Floss Pro, and we display the latest Philips technology in our consultation suites so pa­tients can have the opportunity to examine the products. We an­swer patients’ questions regarding costs, variety of brush and nozzle heads, battery life, ease of maintenance, and other features. Also, we inform patients that they can take advantage of considerable savings when they conveniently purchase Soni­care products from our practice through Philips’ dental professional sales program.
Patients appreciate the convenience and savings the Philips dental professional’s office program provides while gaining health benefits from improvements in plaque scores, gingival inflammation, bleeding indices, and pocket depths that are associated with maintenance of healthy periodontal and peri-implant soft tissues. We all know how difficult it is to motivate patients to be consistent with their oral hygiene. Nevertheless, once patients understand how Sonicare and AirFloss Pro technology together positively impact their oral health and simplifies their oral hygiene regimen, they do not hesitate to make the investment. Changing our patients’ habits leads to improved periodontal and peri-implant health.
In conclusion, young and elderly implant patients in our practice express how the Sonicare toothbrush and AirFloss Pro have transformed the effectiveness of their oral hygiene regimen (data on file), how clean and smooth their teeth and implant restorations feel, and how their confidence has improved from having fresh breath.