Dental implant maintenance: So many recommendations, but which one is right?

As dental clinicians, how does one choose from among the many options available which dental implant maintenance techniques to use and what evidence-based research to believe? Likewise, which is the best protocol for implant therapy? Michelle Strange, RDH, MSDH, explains how she sorts through the enormous amounts of information.



As dental clinicians, we have a responsibility to get through each day doing what's right for our patients and practicing the best standard of care we can. While that sounds ideal, we all know that sometimes it's a struggle. We learn these best practices in dentistry in a variety of ways—by reading articles, attending meetings, continuing education courses, and having conversations with colleagues—but how do we choose from the many options WHO TO LISTEN TO, WHICH DENTAL IMPLANT MAINTENANCE TECHNIQUES TO USE, and WHAT EVIDENCE-BASED RESEARCH TO BELIEVE? How do we know WHICH IS THE BEST PROTOCOL FOR IMPLANT THERAPY? With so many recommendations, IS THERE A WAY TO KNOW WHICH ONE IS RIGHT?

Before I transitioned my career into teaching, speaking, and the world of writing, I attempted to keep up with research as often as I could. The reality was that although I did my best, I was always just a little behind. Now, I spend my weeks attending continuing education courses, reading research, and writing. The quote “The more you know, the more you know you don't know” pretty much sums up how I feel at the end of the week. Depending on which area of the country I am in, the type of journal I am reading, or who is on the podium lecturing could offer very conflicting perspectives on the way to practice dental hygiene.