Choosing to replace your missing teeth with dental implants is one of the best decisions you can make for your oral and general health. Now, you’ll want to protect your investment by making sure your new teeth remain a healthy and beautiful part of your smile for years to come.
Dental implants can be cared for like your natural teeth, but there are some guidelines to follow during recovery and for the ongoing care of your implants. Read on as Dr. Akeel gives you some tips for dental implant care.
Instructions to Follow During Recovery
After dental implant placement, Dr. Akeel will provide some instructions for proper care during the recovery period. It’s important to follow these post-operative guidelines to ensure your mouth fully heals and your implants have the best chance of success.
During the first few days after your procedure, Dr. Akeel recommends that you:
- Avoid spitting, using a straw, or anything else that puts pressure on the implant area
- Don’t eat hard foods that may injure your mouth. Soft or pureed foods and clear liquids are recommended
- Use a saltwater rinse three times a day to help clean the surgical area and reduce inflammation. Remember not to spit the water out but let it flow out of your mouth instead.
- Refrain from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption since both can interfere with the healing process by impeding blood flow to the area.
Long-term Dental Implant Care
Once the initial healing period is complete it’s important to maintain a thorough dental hygiene regimen to make sure your dental implants remain healthy and look great for years to come
Take Care of Your Gums
Having healthy gums is vital to the success of your dental implants. Although your new implants can’t decay, your gums are still susceptible to infection if bacteria are allowed to flourish. Infection can be caused by the same bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease and can affect the tissues around the implant. This condition, called peri-implantitis, can lead to bone loss and implant failure.
The good news is that following a routine of proper oral care can prevent peri-implantitis and ensure that your dental implants, as well as the rest of your mouth, remain healthy.
Choose the Right Hygiene Products
Dr. Akeel recommends using gentle oral care products on your implant restorations to make sure they look their best.
Toothbrush – Use only a soft-bristled brush on your implant restorations to avoid scratching them or injuring your gums. Both manual and electric toothbrushes are shown to be effective for cleaning dental implants as long as proper brushing techniques are followed. It’s recommended to brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time while making sure to thoroughly clean all tooth surfaces.
Toothpaste – Avoid any toothpaste that contains abrasive ingredients–common in whitening or smoker’s toothpaste—because it can scratch your restorations. Check the label carefully and reject any toothpaste that contains baking soda, sodium fluoride, or stannous fluoride.
Floss and Interdental Cleaners – It’s important to clean between your teeth as a part of your oral hygiene routine to keep your gums healthy. You’ll want to choose a floss that is nylon or nylon-coated or pick one specially made for cleaning dental implants. Interdental brushes are also effective; however, be sure to choose those made of plastic because metal brushes can damage your implants.
Mouthwash – We recommend finishing your oral care routine by rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash to remove any food particles or bacteria left after brushing. Avoid mouthwash that contains whitening agents since they can damage your restorations. Also, reject any that contain alcohol as it can dry out your mouth and interfere with your body’s ability to fight infection.
Don’t Forget Your Checkups
It’s even more important to visit your dentist twice a year for a professional checkup and cleaning now that you have dental implants. During this appointment, we’ll thoroughly clean all of your teeth and let you know of any potential issues with your implants before they become problematic.