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Oral Health Maintenance of Dental Implants (AGD 690)

Presenter: Connie Myers Kracher, PhD, MSD and Wendy Schmeling Smith, RDH, BSEd


In recent years, the demand for dental implants has risen greatly. Osseointegrated dental implants are being placed with increased frequency. It is estimated that approximately 1 million dental implants are placed in the United States annually. Not only have placement techniques improved, but the benefits that implants provide for patients have increased as well. Dental implants improve appearance, confidence, and self-esteem. Implants also preserve remaining teeth, improve a person’s ability to speak and masticate properly, and eliminate the need for full and partial dentures. Because dental implants present a significant financial investment and require long-term maintenance by the patient for a healthy peri-implant environment, the direct impact of oral hygiene maintenance by the patient will determine long-term prognosis and success of the dental implant.

The mucoperiosteal-implant seal is the major factor in determining long-term prognosis. Indigenous oral bacteria attaching to dental implant surfaces can lead to the breakdown of the biological seal surrounding the dental implant. Although the junctional epithelium attachment for dental implants is similar to natural dentition, the connective tissue interface with the dental implant has poor mechanical resistance. The peri-implant disease process resembles periodontitis. However, treatment and maintenance are more complex. The tissues around dental implants react to bacteria similarly to the tissues around natural teeth. In fact, plaque develops more rapidly and in larger amounts around titanium implant abutments than around natural teeth. Therefore, close cooperation and teamwork among dental providers and their patients is essential to the success of dental implant procedures. Many of the current home care treatments for periodontal maintenance of natural teeth also can be used with dental implants, but a better understanding of oral health maintenance by the patient is crucial for the health and longevity of dental implants.


Connie Myers Kracher, PhD, MSD
Connie Myers Kracher, PhD, MSD is Associate Professor of Dental Education, Director of the Dental Assisting Program, and the Chair of the Department of Dental Education at Indiana University - Purdue University, Fort Wayne. She holds a PhD from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, a Master of Science in Dentistry from the Indiana University School of Dentistry in Oral Biology, and a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. In addition to her CDA, she holds a Certificate in Expanded Restorative Procedures (EFDA). Dr. Kracher is a frequent contributor to the Dental Assistant Journal and is the author of three ADAA courses: Sports Related Dental Injuries & Sports Dentistry, Blood Pressure Guidelines and Screening Techniques, and Current Concepts in Preventive Dentistry.

Wendy Schmeling Smith, RDH, BSEd
Wendy Schmeling Smith, RDH, BSEd received her baccalaureate degree in education from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. She is a licensed dental hygienist in private practice in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Understand the importance of oral hygiene maintenance as it applies to the success rate for implants.
• Describe the different uses of auxiliary aids and antimicrobial rinses.
• Explain the correct usage of an oral irrigator around implants.
• List the components of a clinical assessment during recare visits.
• Discuss the usage of metal instruments on the implant surfaces.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry.  Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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