if you have recently made the wise choice to replace your missing or severely damaged teeth with dental implants, or have just received new implants, you’re wondering about how to properly care for them after the procedure. Of course, your dentist will give you proper instructions on how you should care for your newly-placed dental implants, and it is vital that you follow them. The success of your dental implant relies on how well you care for them. If you’re planning on keeping your implants for a lifetime, you must be sure to follow an aftercare guide. The following includes aftercare tips that will help your ensure your dental implants heal properly.
Dental implant pre-care
Before undergoing treatment for dental implants, your dentist will likely advise you on some lifestyle choices which may affect the outcome. Some dentists won’t fit dental implants if you smoke, even if you use electronic cigarettes. This is because of the increased risk of the implants failing. Some dentists will fit them, but they won’t guarantee them because of this risk. This doesn’t mean smokers can never have dental implants fitted, but you might want to consider quitting smoking in advance of the procedure. Research has shown that the rate of implant failure is much higher for those who smoke than those who don’t.
It can take between three to six months for dental implants to fuse with your jawbone, and it’ll take another two months for the replacement tooth or crown to be fabricated and placed. However, the healing time varies with every patient. Your dentist will be able to give an accurate time frame as to how long the entire dental implant process should take.
Do not bother your dental implant
It’s vital that you refrain from bothering your dental implant immediately after having it placed. If you agitate the implant, it will prolong the healing process and could lead to additional issues.
If you experience a little bleeding, don’t worry that’s completely normal. It’s likely you’ll see a small amount of blood in your saliva for up to 24 hours after your surgery.
If you’re bleeding excessively, i.e., you’re mouth’s filling with blood, try biting on a gauze pad for 30 minutes. If this continues to be a problem, ring your dentist immediately. Also, if you’ve had an implant fitted on your upper jaw, you might experience a nosebleed a few days after surgery. If that happens, don’t be alarmed this is entirely normal.
Avoid Hot Food And Drink!
Now that your procedure is complete, you are straight into implant aftercare mode. Dental implant aftercare begins immediately after your procedure. One of the most important aspects of immediate dental implant aftercare is avoiding hot food or drinks. Try and stick to cold water for a while; your specialist will be able to tell you how long exactly. Hot food or drink can exacerbate the stress on your mouth tissue. The tissue around the site of your implants will need some time to heal, so it’s best to avoid disturbing it.
As well as avoiding hot food and drink, you should also avoid contact with the area. This includes running your tongue or fingers over the affected area. And, of course, you should avoid all solid foods at least until the local anaesthetic has worn off. Your best approach will be to sip cold water. Cold water will ease the swelling and some of the discomfort in your mouth for the first period of 24-48 hours. By sipping it, you will be able to reduce any disturbance to the surgical site even further
Pain, swelling and bruising
So you’ve made it home and the procedure was a success. But your mouth seems to be swelling more and more. What do you do? Well, you shouldn’t panic. Swelling is a completely normal part of the implant procedure. What’s more, the swelling is likely to increase over the first two or three days. In fact, swelling around the mouth after an implant procedure is known to peak as many as three days after the surgery. All you need to worry about is relieving the pain and swelling.
When it comes to pain relief and swelling, the solutions are simple: ice and painkillers. Something as basic as a bag of frozen peas is an integral part of your dental implant aftercare kit. Ice packs will ease and reduce swelling, which will, in turn, limit the discomfort you experience. For the best and most comfortable recovery, start to take your painkillers before the numbness wears off completely. You will have scripted moderate strength pain relievers (analgesics) like paracetamol with codeine and Nurofen to keep you comfortable. Of course, if you have any questions ask your specialist.
If bruising appears, don’t worry, this is to be expected and will most likely peak between two to three days after your surgery. The bruising and swelling should calm down within a few days. You may also find you benefit from sleeping propped up (use two or three pillows), this can help ease the swelling.
In The First Week After Your Procedure, Use A Warm Saltwater Mouthwash
Now that you have pain and swelling covered, you can turn your mind to the next and equally as important aspect of dental implant aftercare. Keeping your mouth clean and free from bacteria is crucial in your recovery and in oral hygiene overall. But what is the best approach to this? Well, fortunately, the best approach is also the simplest: saltwater. By mixing a few teaspoons of salt with a cupful of warm water, you can make a basic antiseptic solution. This will reduce bacterial activity in your mouth. As a result, the likelihood of complications will be drastically reduced.
Of course, you don’t want the water to be too hot. The best way to approach your saltwater mouthwash is by holding the salty water (saline solution) over the surgical site. Don’t swill it around your mouth too aggressively. When you hold the water over the implant, you don’t want it to scald you. So make sure that the water is warm, but not too hot.
You Can Try A Few Different More Solid Foods Once You Are More Comfortable. Specialists Usually Advise Waiting For 3-4 Days After The Procedure; Be Sure To Rinse Your Mouth After Each Meal To Limit Soiling The Wounds With Food
As you could probably imagine, eating solid foods will be challenging for a while after your procedure. That is why we recommend avoiding solid foods during your early recovery. Your specialist will provide you with some more advice on this subject. Generally, though, you will be free to eat increasingly solid foods once the swelling and discomfort begin to subside. However, there’s a catch! After each meal, you will have to clean your mouth very stringently. Food particles can cause problems for your new dental implant during the healing stages. So keep up the mouthwash after each meal. This will gently clear food from your mouth after your meals and ensure that your recovery is the best it can be!
?How do I clean dental implants
You will need to brush your teeth daily with a non-abrasive toothpaste which your dentist will be able to advise you on. Abrasive toothpaste which contains baking soda – it might not seem abrasive, but this can damage your implants. An electric toothbrush with a soft rounded head will be ideal for cleaning your teeth without causing damage. You will also need to commit to flossing at least once per day using dental floss and/or interdental brushes. You might want to think about investing in a water flossing machine if this will be easier for you.
Keep physical exertion to a minimum during the aftermath of your surgery. Physical activity after your procedure can cause painful throbbing and bleeding. Plus, you probably won’t be able to eat regularly for the first couple of days, which will leave you feeling weaker than usual. It’s usually best to wait a bit before hitting the gym. This will allow your body to recover fully.
If you wear dentures, you need to consult with your dentist when you’re able to wear them again (including partial dentures). Don’t attempt to insert them before it’s safe to do so. Then, when you do use them, proceed with caution.
You shouldn’t put unnecessary pressure on the surgical site, and this can affect the success of your implant.
What should I look out for?
In the weeks and months following your dental implant procedure, you will want to check that the gums around your implant are healthy, pink and free from pain. If you experience any movement in your implant, you should get this checked as soon as possible.
Longer term oral health
Once your mouth has fully healed, it’s important to keep up good oral health to make sure you get the maximum lifespan out of your implant. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly.
You should also visit your hygienist frequently for scale and polish treatments. Your hygienist will also be able to see if any areas need more attention when brushing.
After you’ve had your implant fitted, your dentist will arrange review appointments to make sure that the bone and gum around the implant has healed correctly and that everything is comfortable for you. They will also check that you haven’t developed an infection.
If you have any concerns or if you think you might have an infection in the implant site, you should always contact your implant dentist as soon as you can