One of the benefits of dental implants is that they are relatively simple to care for. After your recovery period, your implants only require the same care as your natural teeth: brush, floss, and see your dentist. And, of course, avoid bad habits that can damage your dental implants.
This page contains background information on how to care for dental implant to help people with the decision-making process. If you have dental implants, you should consult the specific care instructions you were given or contact your dentist for questions. If you want to talk to a San Diego implant dentist about implant maintenance, please call (619) 299-5925 today for an appointment at Strober Dental.
Postoperative Dental Implant Care
After your procedure, you will have surgical gauze over the wound. Pressing down on the gauze will help stop bleeding. Change dressing as necessary. A small amount of oozing blood can last into the second day, but if you have excessive bleeding or the bleeding worsens, it’s a good idea to contact your dentist.
You will likely still be numb when you get home. If you have prescription pain medication, follow instructions about when to take it. If not, take over-the-counter pain medication as sensation begins to return.
Eat a diet of soft food for the first day after your surgery. Do not use a straw for a few days. Gradually work your way up to solid foods, without chewing in the area of your implants. You may not feel like eating, but eating is an important part of your recovery. Don’t drink any alcohol for at least 72 hours after your procedure.
Initially avoid brushing or flossing your dental implants, but brush and floss the rest of your teeth normally. After 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth, using either a prescription mouth rinse or a saltwater solution. After three days, you can start gently brushing the implant site.
Always make all follow-up visits recommended by your implant dentist.
Signs of Complications
During the postoperative period, you should be vigilant for potential complications. This includes:
- Increasing pain around the implant
- Increased bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Localized warmth at the implant site
- Pus, foul odor, or foul taste from the implant site
- Vomiting and nausea not caused by medications
These are warning signs of serious complications and mean you should contact your dentist.
Care after Your Implants Have Healed
Once your implants have healed, take care of them similar to natural teeth. Brush twice daily and floss every day. It may take a little while to get used to flossing around your implant, but it’s worth the time–good hygiene is essential to long-lasting dental implants. If mouthwash is recommended, follow the instructions. If mouthwash is not prescribed or recommended, ask first.
Make regular dental appointments with your implants. For most people, you’ll still see the dentist twice a year. Other people may be recommended to see a dentist three or more times a year if you are at high risk.
If your regular dentist is not your implant dentist, make sure they know which is your dental implant, because they can’t always tell.
Bad Habits That Can Damage Implants
In addition to taking proper care of your dental implants, you have to make sure you aren’t doing things that can damage your implants. Some things to avoid include:
- Smoking and other tobacco use
- Using teeth as tools–they’re not scissors, nutcracker, pliers, or bottle opener
- Chewing non-food such as fingernails, pens, etc.
Also don’t push, pull, or wiggle your dental implants. They shouldn’t move, and if you notice movement, contact your dentist.