Dental implants offer one of the most effective ways to deal with tooth loss and other dental problems, but having one or more placed is considered a major surgical procedure. For this reason, it’s essential to be familiar with dental implant aftercare — both immediately following your surgery and in the future, so your mouth can heal properly and you can enjoy your implant for many years to come.
From the best dental implant care right after surgery to information on common dental implant problems to watch out for, we’ve put together a comprehensive care guide you can follow to facilitate the dental implant healing process and ensure the success of your implants.
Immediate Dental Implant Care
In order to prevent dental implant problems from progressing, you should know what to expect, and what isn’t normal, after your dental implant surgery.
Immediately following your dental implant procedure, you can expect:
- Swelling – It’s common to deal with swelling around the dental implant area, so make sure you’re applying ice regularly during the first 48 hours after surgery to reduce the amount of swelling.
- Bleeding – Bleeding is very common within the first 24 hours after your surgery. Bite down on a gauze pad to help control bleeding. However, if you deal with excessive bleeding for longer than a few days, be sure to call your dentist immediately.
- Pain – Dental implant pain is very common after placement, but your dentist will prescribe you medication to help ease your discomfort for the first few days after surgery.
During the first 24-48 hours after surgery, follow these tips to ensure your recovery goes smoothly:
- Avoid disturbing the surgical areas.
- The night of your surgery, use a gentle toothbrush to brush teeth and avoid touching the surgical area for a few days.
- After the initial 24 hours have gone by, rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day.
- Rest and avoid exerting yourself for the first 48 hours.
- Avoid hot foods or hot liquids for the first 24-48 hours
Dental Implant Aftercare – The First Week
During the first week after your dental implants have been placed, you’ll want to follow a dental implant recovery diet. While you’ll want to avoid hot foods and liquids initially, sticking to cold items for the first day or two, you can start having warm foods again after the first 24-48 hours. For the first several days you may want to stick with soft foods, but you can return to a regular diet after a few days unless your dentist has otherwise directed you.
Make sure you’re continuing your regular oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing after your dental implant procedure. You can ask your dentist when it’s okay to begin brushing and flossing directly on your surgical site. Some of the best tools for cleaning your dental implant will include a soft-bristled toothbrush, water flossers, and un-waxed floss. Unwaxed floss is recommended because it protects the soft tissue around your implant and helps stimulate the tissue around your new implant.
It’s also important to make sure that you schedule and stick with post-operative appointments with your dentist. Your dentist will need to clean and inspect your teeth after your surgery.
Lifelong Care Recommendations for Dental Implants
Although dental implants won’t develop cavities as natural teeth do, it’s still essential to care for them throughout your life to remove bacteria and food particles to prevent bone loss around your implant. Failing to clean your dental implant properly can result in implant failure.
As with your natural teeth, it’s important to brush implants at least twice a day, particularly after meals. Flossing is also essential to the health of your implants. For many patients, a Waterpik can make it easier to care for the area around your dental implants throughout your lifetime. Along with good oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings are vital to your overall oral health and the success of your implant long-term.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.