Dental implants are an excellent restoration option for patients who suffer from tooth loss. They stimulate healthy jawbone growth, and their tooth-colored aesthetic makes differentiating them from your natural teeth impossible.
Implants are also very easy to care for. Even though you can brush and floss your implants just like your natural teeth, there are some guidelines to follow, especially right after your surgery.
Dr. Chow has put together this step-by-step guide for you to follow to keep your new smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.
How to Care for Your New Smile
After your implants are placed, it’s important to follow these post-op care instructions to ensure you get the most out of your new pearly whites.
- Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the surgery
- Try a saline rinse after the first 24 hours to decrease the risk of infection
- Apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling in the area.
- Brush your teeth normally, without touching the surgical site
- Avoid touching the affected area with your tongue and fingers
- Change your diet to cold liquids and soft foods
- Abstain from smoking for at least five days after the surgery
- Try a warm compress to relieve your muscles if you experience stiffness in the jaw,
Following these care instructions will help prevent unnecessary pain and complications in the long run, such as peri-implantitis.
Peri-implantitis Risks, Signs, Symptoms, & Prevention
Peri-implantitis is an infectious disease that causes swelling in the gum and bone structure surrounding the implant resulting in a potential loss of the new tooth.
Some common risk factors for peri-implantitis include:
- Infection, as a result of improper implant care
Symptoms to watch for include:
- Redness and swelling of the mucosa (glands that produce mucus)
- Bone loss near the implant
- Bleeding gums
- Pus formation
- The implant feels loose
- Pain around the affected site
If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact Dr. Chow immediately to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Prevention and Peri-implantitis
Follow proper oral care to prevent harmful bacteria from coming into contact with the peri-implant pockets. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption or smoking which can slow the healing process.
Gentle Products for Long-Term Implant Care
After the post-op period, it’s important to continue to properly care for your implants so you can get the most out of your new smile. When caring for dental implants, we recommend soft, non-abrasive hygiene products that won’t scratch your restoration or irritate your gums.
Dr. Chow suggests these gentle dental products to help maintain your implants for a lifetime:
- A soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent scratching your beautiful porcelain crown.
- A non-abrasive toothpaste to protect your implant and surrounding gums.
- A nylon-coated floss to remove hard-to-reach plaque and bacteria.
- An antibacterial mouthwash to avoid dry mouth.
Choosing the Right Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Selecting a toothbrush that’s ideal for dental implants boils down to finding one with soft or extra-soft bristles. The soft bristles will decrease your chances of scratching the porcelain crown or titanium implant. Both electric and traditional toothbrushes are acceptable, as long as you brush for the correct amount of time and cover all surfaces of your teeth.
Regarding toothpaste, we recommend avoiding any that contain harsh ingredients to protect your implant and its surrounding gums. Abrasive ingredients are found in whitening toothpaste, as well as any that include baking soda. Baking soda—when used continuously—can damage your enamel. Furthermore, baking soda lacks fluoride, which prevents cavities by strengthening your teeth.
Selecting Appropriate Dental Floss
Moving on, the next oral hygiene product to think about is dental floss. Daily flossing is crucial for maintaining good dental health. It removes plaque and debris from hard-to-reach spots that your toothbrush can’t reach. As you floss with dental implants, be sure to use nylon-coated floss because it’s designed to glide against your teeth and gums, minimizing the risk of damaging your implant. Multiple companies sell floss that’s used solely with dental implants.
Picking the Ideal Mouthwash
Finally, the last hygiene product we’ll discuss is antibacterial mouthwash, which helps your mouth fend off unwanted bacteria and gum disease. For the same reason that we recommended avoiding whitening toothpaste, the same goes for whitening mouthwash. Furthermore, a mouthwash that contains alcohol can cause dry mouth—saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense when fighting off dangerous bacteria.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I take care of my dental implants while they’re healing?
It’s critical to maintain a good oral hygiene routine while your dental implants heal. During the first 24 hours after your surgery, it can be helpful to rinse out your mouth with a warm water solution. (Don’t use mouth wash or peroxide rinse). Once the first 24 hours have passed, you can begin to gently brush your teeth again. Make sure to take any medications you’ve been prescribed by your dentist.
What can I eat after my dental implant procedure?
An hour after your procedure, you’ll be able to remove the first set of gauze and eat something soft. Avoid hot liquids or drinking from a straw for the first 24 hours. We recommend eating softer foods such as:
- Soft or melted cheeses
- Cold soup
- Mashed bananas
Remember to chew away from your surgical site. After the first day, you can move to firmer foods, but let your comfort level be your guide. Don’t eat anything that causes pain while you recover.
What can I expect from the healing process?
During your healing period, it’s common to feel some soreness and tenderness. But it should continue to feel better with each passing day. If the pain becomes worse, please contact our Thunder Bay office immediately.
Swelling can also occur on the face near the surgical site and will ease over two to three days. Applying a cold compress to your face can help decrease swelling and any discomfort you may be having. To minimize any soreness, we recommend over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen.
Call Today to Learn More
If you’re considering the path to a brighter smile, call our practice at (807) 700-1383 to see how we can assist you on your journey. Or, just leave us your information in the contact submission form and we’ll get right back to you.
Dr. Chow and our entire team at Oasis Family Dental can’t wait to meet you and help you restore your smile.