How to Care for Dental Implants

how to care for dental implants

If you have taken steps toward improving your smile and have had a cosmetic dentist perform dental implant surgery, congratulations! You’re one of the lucky people who have gone forward with improving your smile and the overall function of your teeth. It is now time to take care of your investment and learn about the best ways to care for your new dental implants.

Dental Implant FAQs

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Step 1: Practice Good Dental Hygiene Habits

One of the most important steps to take after you have recovered from dental implant surgery is ensuring your dental health remains top notch. Good habits can take time to build, but making good dental hygiene a regular priority will help you maintain your overall dental health and keep the dental implant in good condition.

Some recommendations most dentists adhere to include brushing with nonabrasive brushes. This keeps your teeth healthy without being too rough on the natural teeth, as well as the dental implant.

Flossing is also essential, and because dental implants are so common, most dentists will have recommended brands for you. Additionally, your dentist can recommend a floss threader that can safely go between spaces in teeth.

Gum care must also be part of your dental habits, which can be done through proper brushing.

Step 2: Use Antimicrobial Mouthwash

If you have not been mouthwash on a regular basis as part of your dental care plan, now is the time to do so. Mouthwash is an effective way to get rid of the germs and plaque in your mouth in spots where brushing and flossing are unable to reach.

Step 3: Avoid Plastic or Metal “Picks”

Although dental implants are made of strong materials, they are still vulnerable to damage from harsh substances. Therefore, using a plastic or metal “pick” can likely scratch the implant surface which can weaken it and cause bacteria to breed in the damaged area.

Many dentists will recommend water picks for patients who want to reach areas that professionals are more likely to have plaque buildup, so if you really need to use a pick to reach an area that flossing or brushing are not cleaning right, a water pick is a better way to go.

Step 4: Avoid Harmful Foods or Drinks

Even though you may be elated to have a new dental implant to replace a lost or missing tooth and want to experience eating almost any food you might have been missing out on, you should still be cautious about the types of food that could damage your teeth. Foods like popcorn, rice, nuts, and apples can get stuck between teeth or cause damage from biting down too hard too soon after your surgery. Eat softer foods like bread, applesauce, or mashed potatoes in the early days after surgery so you still get the nutrients you need without risking pain or inflammation that could happen after eating hard foods.

Since teeth are often sensitive after surgery, avoid extreme temperatures like cold or hot beverages soon after your dental implant surgery. Drinks that have ice can especially cause pain in cases where the ice hits the teeth or you accidentally bite down on it. Try drinking beverages that avoid either extreme in order to keep from experiencing sensitivity soon after your surgery.

Your dentist will advise you on how much time after your surgery you should wait to eat crunchy or hard foods like those listed above in order to have the best recovery experience possible.

Even after you have fully healed, it’s important to be careful around certain foods and drinks because they could get stuck in your teeth, making it hard to fully clean around the affected area. You might have to modify how you bite down on these foods as well in order to keep from damaging your implant. Always follow the dentist’s advice for the best experience possible.

Step 5: Seek Immediate Help for Problems Following Dental Implant Surgery

Most people try to take precautions when having dental implant surgery, but like all surgeries, dental implant surgeries can come with risks and complications. Some symptoms you might experience can include:

  • Oozing blood from the surgery site 24-48 hours after surgery
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Post-operative nausea

However, if you have severe symptoms such as persistent bleeding or extreme pain that is not helped by the medications your doctor prescribed to you, you should contact your dentist immediately.

Once you have your appointment scheduled, you might want to seek some temporary pain relief before you visit your dentist. Some common measures include ice, gargling saltwater, and hydrogen peroxide. You can view more temporary tooth pain relief options on our blog for common ideas and others you might not have realized could work!

Contact Our Little Rock Cosmetic Dentists

Interested in getting a dental implant? Our experienced cosmetic dentistry team in Little Rock can help! Contact us today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced dentists.