If you’ve had any kind of dental implant procedure, you know the benefits of implants as a complement or upgrade to missing or damaged natural teeth. However, just because you’ve had dental implant treatment doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of your teeth the same way as everyone else. In fact, there are some extra special considerations to keep in mind. Read on to learn more about how to care for dental implants, with tips straight from qualified surgeons and dentists providing dental implant services in Arlington, VA!
Help the Healing Process
Did you know one of the best methods when it comes to caring for dental implants is to make sure your implants actually heal properly? The healing period for dental implants can last up to six months, so it’s especially important to heed any advice you receive from oral surgery professionals during this time. Here are a few after-care tips to keep in mind immediately after surgery and in the months to follow:
Avoid moving your head and mouth around excessively the first 8-12 hours post-operation.
Do not touch or mess with the implant site.
Do not drink excessively hot beverages for the first few days post-operation.
Do not spit vigorously or rinse your mouth for at least 24 hours post-operation.
Avoid hard or chewy foods for the first several days to a week post-operation. Stick to soft foods only.
Use an ice pack on your jaw or face for first 8 hours to reduce pain and swelling as needed.
Make sure any prescription medication that you take is approved by your doctor for use after surgery.
If serious or heavy bleeding persists for more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your dentist or oral surgeon ASAP.
Use a Soft Toothbrush
You may be using a toothbrush that could hurt your dental implants. The best toothbrushes are softer options, such as nylon-bristled brushes. If you have an electric toothbrush, talk to your dentist about continuing to use it during the recovery period. They might mention that you will have to switch to another method for the time being, or they might allow you to continue using it (how to care for dental implants the best way possible is dependent on your situation). You may also benefit from an interdental brush.
Brush and Floss Regularly
Practicing good oral hygiene isn’t just a tip for people wondering how to care for dental implants — it’s a tip for anyone who wants to keep their teeth and health in the best shape possible! Brush at least twice every day and also floss each day to clear away plaque and reduce the chances of cavities. Don’t just practice good oral hygiene during the recovery process, either. Continue taking care of your teeth by brushing and flossing after your implants have healed. Patients who have had implant surgery but do not take care of the implant site can get a nasty infection specific to implants called peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis harms the implant site and the teeth around it no matter how long ago the implant procedure was.
Avoid “Problem” Foods
One of the things many people don’t think about when they’re planning out how to care for dental implants is their diet. Your diet affects your oral health, especially when you’re recovering from dental implant surgery. For the first six months, avoid chewing ice, gum, or hard candies. Also, steer clear of the following problem foods during the first few weeks of recovery:
Chewy meat, such as steak
Crusty or crunchy bread
This is far from a complete list, so talk to your dentist about how to care for dental implants in other ways related to your diet.
Even when you aren’t caring for dental implants, most dentists will tell you that quitting smoking can work wonders for improving your dental hygiene. Smoking does long-term damage to your enamel, your gums, and the very structure of your teeth. And as you might have guessed, quitting smoking is especially crucial when you have to worry about caring for dental implants.
In order for your implant sites to heal, your body needs to be as healthy as possible. Cigarettes can stress your heart, affect your blood pressure, and reduce oxygen in your blood. Not to mention, they affect the way your implants look and feel in your mouth. Even if you only quit smoking days or hours before dental implant surgery, take care to avoid starting back up while you’re recovering.
Make Regular Visits to Your Dentist
The #1 tip when it comes to how to care for dental implants is to visit your dentist regularly! Making regular visits to your dentist at least twice per year is essential to good oral health and checking your implants are healing properly and will look their best. However, regular visits aren’t the only way your dentist can help you. Suppose you’re experiencing any issues such as tooth pain after a root canal when biting or have other concerns related to your implants. In that case, you can always contact your dentist to set up an appointment later in the week or even the same day. Waiting could cost you big time, so pick up the phone as soon as you notice a problem.
Now that you’ve learned how to care for dental implants with these simple steps, it’s easier than ever to keep your teeth healthy and happy. If you’re interested in getting dental implants or have other dental or oral surgery questions or concerns, want to discuss financing a procedure, or just want to schedule a check-up, Bloom Dental of Arlington is here for you. Contact us today and start smiling again!