How to Care for Dental Implants
If you have suffered from tooth loss and have dental implants, it is essential to follow the proper care instructions to ensure they stay healthy and function properly. Dental implants are a popular choice for people who are missing teeth, as they can provide a more natural-looking smile than traditional dentures. Implants are also more durable and last longer than dentures.
We recommend following these simple care instructions to keep your implants in good condition.
Post-Surgery Care Instructions
Dental implants are placed through oral surgery, and it is essential to follow your surgeon’s instructions for post-surgery care. You may experience some bleeding and swelling post-surgery, but this is normal and should subside within 24 hours.
During the first 24 hours following your dental implant surgery:
- Get plenty of rest and elevate your head when lying down.
- Bite down on a sponge or cotton balls to control bleeding.
- Use an ice pack in 15-minute intervals to reduce swelling around the implant site.
- Stick to water and soft foods at first. Try broth, soups, or yogurt to start, and gradually add more foods as you feel comfortable.
- Be sure to take any medications as prescribed. If your doctor does not prescribe pain medicine, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers.
The healing process usually takes several months, so you should be extra careful with your implants to ensure proper healing.
As with any oral surgery, you should contact our dentist immediately if you are experiencing excessive bleeding or severe pain that does not subside.
General Dental Implant Maintenance Instructions
Once your dental implants have healed, you should practice proper oral hygiene routines to maintain oral health and avoid dental implant failure. You’ll use many of the same techniques that you would use to care for your natural teeth, but there are a few additional steps to take when you have artificial teeth.
Be sure to brush and floss daily.
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush or denture brush with a low abrasive toothpaste, brush your dental implants twice daily. Using gentle and non-abrasive products will avoid scratching the surface of your implant crown. Most toothbrush bristles are made of nylon, which is soft and pliable and can get hard-to-reach areas. Look for one labeled “soft.”
When you have dental implants, daily flossing becomes even more critical. Plaque and bacteria from food debris can build up around the implant site, compromising the implant health and leading to more severe dental hygiene problems. To prevent gum disease and other issues, use dental floss daily.
Eat the right foods.
After your dental implant, you’ll need to stick to a soft-food diet until the implant site heals. After the area has healed, there are still some foods you should avoid, like:
- Sticky foods and candies like caramel
- Apples, carrots, and other raw fruits and vegetables that are hard to chew
- Chewy or tough bread, like bagels or french bread
- Nuts and seeds
- Avoid chewing on ice cubes
- Steak and other meats that put excess pressure on the teeth and gums
Don’t smoke, and limit your alcohol consumption.
This is an excellent rule to follow for your overall health, but it is an especially important part of caring for your dental implants. Your implants will take several months to heal, and alcohol consumption has been shown to increase healing time.
Smoking is dangerous for your dental health at any time and can lead to tooth decay or oral cancer. If you are a smoker, consider quitting before your implant surgery.
Use a nightguard.
You can prevent damage to your new dental implants by using a nightguard to protect them from teeth grinding. If you suffer from teeth grinding (also called bruxism), you may want to consider using a nightguard every night.
Nightguards are custom-made devices that fit over your teeth and protect them from damage. You can get a custom nightguard at our office or buy one over the counter.
Be sure to visit the dentist regularly.
You should schedule professional cleanings at least twice per year or more if our dentist recommends more frequent cleanings. During your visits, our dentist can ensure that you practice proper dental implant care and can give you additional care tips if needed.
Contact Metuchen Dental Group With Your Dental Implant Care Questions
Dental implants can restore your healthy smile and improve your quality of life. At Metuchen Dental Group, we proudly offer dental implants to our patients. Our expert team will work with you to ensure you receive the best care possible.
Please contact our office today if you have any questions about how to care for your dental implants.