When it comes to high-impact oral health procedures, dental implants are near the top of the list. Dental implants can restore smiles and help anyone feel like their most confident self. They can also be a significant investment, which means that you should familiarize yourself with the best ways to care for your implant ahead of time to prepare.
Give the Tooth Surface TLC
The surface of a tooth is sensitive, and the same is true for the material that your implants are made out of. When purchasing mouthwash and toothpaste, choose ones that are formulated to be gentle and non-abrasive. If you are looking for tooth whitening or more intensive oral care services in the future, always consult with your dentist first.
Use a Soft Toothbrush
Contrary to what some patients assume, harder toothbrushes are not better at getting rid of food debris and plaque. Soft toothbrushes and proper flossing will leave your teeth spotless and healthy without damaging your enamel. Choose a brush with nylon bristles that will flex and move around your teeth to prevent scratching or scuffing the surface of your implant.
Maintain Regular Dentist Visits
Even as your dental implant is healing or you are making your way through the surgical process, you should keep all of your regular visits to the dentist for cleanings. Your oral health is critical to the success of your implants, so maintaining the rest of your mouth will preserve the integrity of your implant as well.
Floss Every Day
Everyone knows that they are supposed to floss every day, and yet less than 1 in 5 adults do so. Flossing becomes more important when you have a dental implant, as food debris can become stuck underneath the implant or around the edges. There are special flosses available that are designed for use with and around implants, and picking up some to supplement with is a great idea.
Follow Aftercare Instructions
Dental implants involve multiple procedures in many cases, and the success of the implant will partially depend on how closely you follow aftercare instructions from your oral surgeon or dentist. In general, you should:
Eat only soft foods for the 24-48 hours following the implantation
Use cold compresses or ice packs to relieve facial or jaw pain
Take all antibiotics or other prescriptions as prescribed
Avoid excessive exercise or movement in the immediate aftermath of the surgery
Plan on having a family member or friend drive you home after surgery
Do not use a straw, smoke cigarettes, or spit for up to five days after your surgery
Dental implant surgery is designed to keep you as comfortable as possible, but some discomfort will inevitably occur. Proper aftercare will limit any negative impacts on your daily life.
Eat With Care
Just like when you have orthodontics and adjust your diet as a result, you should choose your foods carefully when eating with dental implants. Avoid anything that is very hard or sticky, as it may damage your dental implants or move them in an uncomfortable position. What foods should you avoid as part of your regular diet?
Unpopped popcorn kernels
Apples (if you have implants on your front teeth)
It’s okay to indulge occasionally, but extra care on a daily basis will extend the longevity of your implant.
Don’t Wait to Fix Problems
In rare cases, dental implants may experience difficulties after installation and feel unstable when you chew on them or become red and swollen. If you have any issues, reach out to your dentist immediately. Many implant issues can be counteracted and solved as long as treatment begins early, and waiting can compromise the integrity of your implant altogether. Save your dentist’s number so they’re just a call away.