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The ADI celebrates World Oral Health Day 2024


In celebration of World Oral Health Day – 20th March – we highlight just how important oral hygiene is for the success of dental implants. We also consider how patient education and engagement can be optimised to improve these results.


Common complications


Modern dental implant systems, techniques and maintenance protocols facilitate high survival rates over 10+ years, with stable marginal bone levels achievable.[i] However, complications can still arise, including screw loosening, minor chipping of the restoration and even abutment fracture – though such issues seem relatively rare.


One of the most common risks associated with dental implant complications is peri-implantitis. This is estimated to affect 5-20% of implants.[ii] [iii] When left untreated, peri-implantitis can cause bone loss around the implant, leading to its eventual failure and loss from the mouth.


Preventing implant-related disease


Given that the development of this disease is primarily linked with plaque accumulation,[iv] a high standard of oral hygiene is essential for reducing its prevalence in implant patients. That’s why patients play such an essential role in the maintenance of dental implants for the long-term success of treatment. They must understand why and how to remove plaque and biofilm effectively from their teeth and gums every day.


Oral health education is key – including brushing techniques, products and duration of a good oral hygiene routine. It is just as important to ensure frequent and high-quality interproximal cleaning, as this is often missed by implant patients and remains a significant contributor to plaque build-up.[v] 


Improving patient education


The literature[vi] has recognised that delivering accurate and timely information can be challenging. For success, it is important to encourage the patient’s engagement with their oral health and take a collaborative approach to treatment planning. If they are involved and taking some of the responsibility for decision-making from the start, they are far more likely to comply with professional advice post-operatively.


To improve patient knowledge of their current oral health status, the proposed dental implant treatment and the long-term maintenance required thereafter, consider optimising your communication methods. For example, the use of animations and videos to describe treatment enhances patient understanding of the medical information being presented. [vii] This is essential not only for adherence to oral hygiene advice, but also for fully informed consent.

From a broader perspective, enhanced patient education – alongside preventive screening and integrated healthcare – has also been shown to improve general patient wellbeing in dental care, not just specific treatment outcomes.[viii]


Elevating health


It is always crucial to ensure that patients appreciate the role of effective oral hygiene for implant success. This World Oral Health Day, why not use the opportunity to remind your implant patients of their commitment to their oral health? You’ll help them protect their investment along the way!


[i] Gadzo, N., Ioannidis, A., Naenni, N. et al. Survival and complication rates of two dental implant systems supporting fixed restorations: 10-year data of a randomized controlled clinical study. Clin Oral Invest 27, 7327–7336 (2023).

[ii] Diaz P, Gonzalo E, Villagra LJG, Miegimolle B, Suarez MJ. What is the prevalence of peri-implantitis? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Oral Health. 2022 Oct 19;22(1):449. doi: 10.1186/s12903-022-02493-8. PMID: 36261829; PMCID: PMC9583568.

[iii] Prathapachandran J, Suresh N. Management of peri-implantitis. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2012 Sep;9(5):516-21. doi: 10.4103/1735-3327.104867. PMID: 23559913; PMCID: PMC3612185.

[iv] Monje A, Insua A, Wang HL. Understanding Peri-Implantitis as a Plaque-Associated and Site-Specific Entity: On the Local Predisposing Factors. J Clin Med. 2019 Feb 25;8(2):279. doi: 10.3390/jcm8020279. PMID: 30823574; PMCID: PMC6406659.

[v] Cheung MC, Hopcraft MS, Darby IB. Patient-reported oral hygiene and implant outcomes in general dental practice. Aust Dent J. 2021 Mar;66(1):49-60. doi: 10.1111/adj.12806. Epub 2020 Dec 5. PMID: 33174206.

[vi] Kashbour WA, Rousseau NS, Thomason JM, Ellis JS. Provision of information to patients on dental implant treatment: Clinicians' perspectives on the current approaches and future strategies. J Dent. 2018 Sep;76:117-124. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2018.07.002. Epub 2018 Jul 9. PMID: 30004003.

[vii] Feeley, Thomas & Keller, Maria & Kayler, Liise. (2022). Using Animated Videos to Increase Patient Knowledge: A Meta-Analytic Review. Health Education & Behavior. 50. 109019812211167. 10.1177/10901981221116791.

[viii] Mills A, Berlin-Broner Y, Levin L. Improving Patient Well-Being as a Broader Perspective in Dentistry. Int Dent J. 2023 Dec;73(6):785-792. doi: 10.1016/j.identj.2023.05.005. Epub 2023 Jun 19. PMID: 37344242; PMCID: PMC10658438.

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