Implant care begins right after surgery, not after the final restoration

Biofilm management is critical to the outcomes of implant therapy, but patient compliance with home care can be less than ideal due to the pain involved with brushing around the surgical site. In this article, Katherine A. Haltom, DMD, and Ivy H. Zellmer, RDH, BSDH, introduce Mouth-Mate, a new device that protects the surgical site to permit safe brushing without pain.

One of the greatest concerns of implant therapy for both patients and clinicians is the potential that the implant might fail. In 2015 the prevalence of peri-implantitis was reported to be as low as 1% and as high as 47%. (1) According to Tarnow, “Under the most conservative estimates, nearly 10% of all implants placed today will have some form of peri-implantitis in about 10 years.” (2) The range of reported peri-implantitis prevalence is controversial; however, it is commonly agreed that key features of peri-implant diseases are plaque biofilm and poor patient hygiene. (3) In this article, we will introduce a modern, nontraditional strategy to help ensure improved postsurgical patient comfort and hygiene at home, which are key to improved long-term implant success.

Plaque biofilm has been named the enemy. We are familiar with the association between plaque and the development of peri-implant diseases. (1,3,4) One key strategy to ensure continued implant success is to emphasize a proper oral hygiene program at home. (2–5) Good home care and plaque management are critical and should be stressed from the very beginning, long before the final implant-borne restoration.

The “self-care” mantra should be stressed by the dental team during the presurgical workup and reinforced after surgery to reduce site contamination and inflammation, and to improve implant and graft success. (4) This early approach will bolster the importance of establishing thorough and consistent oral hygiene behavior at home, and it will help to form a clinician–patient partnership so the most successful patient outcomes can be achieved. Patients will understand that implant care starts from the very beginning with the surgery, not after the final restoration.

Whether it’s a one- or two-stage implant surgery, plaque biofilm around the surgical site is a constant threat. Biofilm can lead to mucosal inflammation, delayed healing, and an increased risk of infection and patient pain. If a patient doesn’t adhere to a biofilm management protocol, a preeminent concern is that peri-implant mucositis can progress to peri-implantitis. We want to share a new, modern approach to help clinicians improve patient outcomes through better home care.

Armor Dental, a new dental manufacturer and product development company, recently launched Mouth-Mate, a wound-protecting device that can change the way your patients heal at home, view their surgery experiences, and think long-term about implant care. This device is a specifically designed to hover over and protect the surgical site to permit safe brushing without disrupting the surgical site (figures 1–3). Mouth-Mate was tested in an in-office study last year, in which nine out of 10 patients indicated they were less afraid to brush near the surgical area and were therefore more compliant with home care instructions.

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