Caring for your dental implants will ensure they serve you well for a long time to come. They are an investment, and require care and attention to make sure they continue to brighten your smile.
Dental implants have become a common solution for missing teeth. They are a considerable investment of time and money, and once you undergo the procedure, you want to ensure the longevity of the implant. For dental implant maintenance, there are a few steps you have to take soon after the procedure, followed by a consistent implant care routine.
Why is implant maintenance important?
You may wonder why an implant maintenance routine is necessary since the implant itself cannot decay. It is true that the implant won’t decay because there are no natural tooth structures that can decay. But, the stability of the implant can become problematic if there is some inflammation or periodontal infection, known as peri implantitis. This is an infection that is destructive in nature and affects both the soft and hard tissues around the implants. This is why proper care is needed for your implants. The long term success of your implants requires effort from you.
How to care for your implants
Looking after your implants is simple. It doesn’t take any additional time or expense than you would have spent on your natural teeth. Basic oral hygiene is all you need for long-term healthy gums, mouth and implants.
Caring for implants after surgery
Soon after your implant surgery, you may notice that there is some bleeding on your gums. This mild bleeding can go on for up to 72 hours following your surgery. There will be gauze sponges placed on the surgical site of the implants. You will have to bite down firmly on the sponges to stop bleeding. Do not, at this point, spit or rinse your mouth as this can aggravate the bleeding.
Do you eat any food for an hour post surgery. After an hour, you may remove the gauze and eat soft foods. Stay away from anything hot for at least the day of the surgery. While it may sound like the best thing to do, drinking liquids through a straw is not recommended either, soon after the surgery.
Care for the first few weeks
Swelling may occur after the surgery and if you notice this, it can be managed with ice packs. If you have had surgery on both sides of your mouth, then you will need to switch sides with the ice pack every half hour.
It is also important that you take the antibiotics and painkillers that are prescribed for you. This will not only help manage pain and any discomfort you may have, but also prevent any infection around the implant, in the gums and the bone graft. Be sure to finish the course of medication prescribed.
24 hours after the surgery you may go back to brushing like you normally would. Do not use a commercial mouth wash for at least a fortnight. However, to keep your mouth clean and avoid infection, rinse your mouth with salt water a few times a day.
Caring for your implants at home
Once you have dental implants, home care is about building a routine. This starts with having an effective plaque removal system and following it consistently, at least twice a day. This can be done with a toothbrush and interproximal cleaners. Your dentist, however, may prescribe over-the-counter mouthwashes to aid the process depending on your case. A visit to the dental hygienist at least twice a year is also a good step towards maintenance of implants.
Here is a list of what you need to maintain your implants at home:
- Toothbrushes: Electric toothbrushes are better at getting rid of plaque than a manual brush. No matter what your choice of brush however, it is advised that you brush your teeth with soft bristles for two full minutes. End tufts on brushes are a good way of getting to corners that are difficult to reach, like teeth near the buccal cavity (at the back).
- Interproximal aids: Another recommended technique is to use a water flosser, which helps get to bacteria that is lodged as deep as 6mm. However, you will have to learn the proper technique to using these. Dental floss is another aid, but, you have to use one that does not shred particles and leave them in your mouth, as this can lead to implantitis (implant inflammation).
- Mouthwash: Choose a formula that is non-abrasive on your teeth and on the implant area. It will need to contain elements that combat microbes.
- Occlusal guards: Using night guards and retainers may be a good idea if it comes recommended by a dentist. This will reduce friction on your implants caused by grinding your teeth at night or clenching, which is common.
Professional dental implant care
Once the care routine becomes a part of your daily life, supplement it with routine professional maintenance appointments. Work out a schedule with your dental hygienist and follow it. A relatively strict maintenance schedule will help maintain the condition of your implants. Depending on a variety of factors, you may need dentist visits every three, six or twelve months. These are prevention visits, so your implants remain healthy for many years to come.
Understanding all that is related to dental implants and their care begins with having a talk with the experts. Call us on 095244541 if you wish to discuss your options.