If you want dental implants to replace one or several teeth, then you should know that the implant root device will have a small attachment on top of it called an abutment. This small metal device is screwed onto the implant. It is what attaches the implant root to either the crown, partial bridge, or denture.
As you go through the dental implant healing process, you will see the abutment. When the tooth or bridge is placed, it will not longer be seen. When this happens, you will not need to think much about the abutment. You will need to during the initial healing process though, so follow the tips below.
Minimize Gum Swelling
Dental implantation requires a highly invasive type of surgery with gums that are cut so the implant can be inserted into the jaw. At the end of the surgery, the gums are sutured around the implant with the very base of the tissues sitting close to the bottom edge of the abutment.
Since the gums sit so close to the abutment, they will often push on the metal piece. This happens most often when the gums swell and become inflamed. The soft tissues can place so much pressure on the abutment that it screws off and comes loose in the mouth. This is a serious problem since the abutment can be swallowed and it can leave the implant uncovered.
You can easily stop the abutment from twisting off if you manage swelling with rinses. Rinses reduce bacterial activity and they can also draw fluid away from the swollen tissues. Salt water rinses as well as prescription chlorhexidine solutions are both good choices for swelling reduction and you should think about using them alternatively to clean your mouth for a few weeks after your surgery.
Rinse Around the Ridge
You are likely to see a tiny ridge where the dental implant root meets the abutment. This ridge is a minuscule opening that can be used as a spot where bacteria gather. If the area holds plaque and other food debris, then this can cause an infection either along the gums near the implant, or the bacteria can actually reach below the gumline and infect the jaw.
To keep debris and bacteria away from the tiny ridge, you should clear the air with a two-pronged approach. A toothbrush can remove the larger pits of plaque and food and a water flosser can flush out the bacteria and the smaller pieces of debris that the brush cannot reach. If possible, choose a flosser tool with a variety of different tips. You want to use the tip that is especially made for dental appliances. The tip is sometimes called a plaque seeker. Tips made from cleaning gum pockets are a good choice as well.