Dental implant surgery is a treatment whereby artificial roots are fixed in the mouth in order to provide a permanent base for a bridge or replacement teeth. Many individuals undergo this procedure because implants fit and function like normal teeth, and it’s a long-term solution for chronic dental problems or failing or missing teeth.
Dental implants are designed to last for up to twenty years, however, in order to ensure they remain durable and last as long as they should, they require specific care and maintenance. Here are our top tips to help caring for dental implants.
Why Is It Important To Care For Dental Implants?
Lots of research has been done around dental implants, which has concluded that the longevity of implants not only depends on the extent to which you maintain them but on your lifestyle choices as well. It’s important to exercise the proper care for dental implants on an ongoing basis because it can take up to three months for implants to completely integrate with your jaw after surgery.
Of course, this does depend on individual circumstances, so it’s important to clarify this with your oral surgeon and adhere to their advice as much as possible. Failure to do so can have considerable implications not only on the success of your dental implants but on your oral health as a whole.
What Is The First Stage Of Dental Implant Care?
Most patients undergoing a dental implant procedure will exhibit a distinct recovery process, and although it differs from person to person it generally encompasses three stages.
Stage one is immediately after surgery, where your oral surgeon will probably instruct you to maintain a regimented oral health care routine including regular brushing, however, there are a number of other dental implant care tips you can adhere to.
If you notice bleeding, you should apply pressure straight away by biting down on a piece of gauze dressing for around 20 minutes. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped after 30 minutes you should apply an ice pack to the surrounding jaw area, and if bleeding is still occurring 24 hours after your surgery, you should book an appointment to see your oral surgeon. Ice packs every two to three hours can also help to reduce swelling and improve your recovery, as will keeping hydrated with water and allowing yourself plenty of rest.
You should also keep your mouth as clean as possible and avoid smoking as it can lead to infection and cause implications for the healing process. Your oral surgeon may also prescribe a suitable mouthwash and/or instruct you to rinse your mouth out with salt water a few times a day from the second-day post-surgery.
In terms of nutrition, although you may not be able to follow your usual eating habits, you still need to make sure that you’re getting enough nutritional value in your meals to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong. Things like smoothies, vegetable soups, omelettes and protein shakes are all healthy alternatives and they’re also easy to eat and digest.
What Is The Second Stage Of Dental Implant Care?
The second stage in the recovery process is three or so months after your dental implant surgery, where you will need to see your oral surgeon again. They will use this time to measure the progress of your implant, assess the overall condition of your oral hygiene, and may also provide you with an ongoing care plan tailored to your individual needs.
In this stage, you should be continuing your upkeep of good oral hygiene and not smoking as this will minimise ongoing health implications and negate the need for any costly dental work to repair any damage.
What Is The Third Stage Of Dental Implant Care?
The third stage of dental implant maintenance is all about longer-term care. You should continue to avoid using abrasive toothpastes as they can scratch the coated surfaces of tooth implants and wear them out, and make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Implants are more susceptible to damage than natural teeth and hard-bristled toothbrushes can result in teeth being scratched, which will wear them out more quickly.
You should also continue to floss regularly which will help to clean the surfaces below the gum line, and using non-waxed floss is advisable as it will remove any bacteria while keeping your implants in place. After flossing, you should rinse your mouth out with a recommended mouthwash that will strengthen your gums and enhance the general health of your whole mouth.
What Is The Most Important Stage Of Dental Implant Care?
It goes without saying that the most important stage of a good dental implant care routine is to heed the advice of your oral surgeon. Dental implant surgery is quite a complex process and many factors affect the choice of dental implants, the implantation itself and the ability of the implant to remain as stable as possible for as long as possible. The whole process requires specialised care and your oral surgeon will have the training, expertise and experience necessary to match the perfect dental implant with your mouth.
However, a great deal of the post-surgery care comes down to you, and an effective dental care plan can genuinely mean the difference between a poor result and a successful one. With professional advice and ongoing maintenance, your oral surgeon will ensure your dental implant is not only successful but sustainable.
Need a bit more advice on caring for dental implants? The friendly staff at Australia Dental can help! Contact us on (07) 3888 9125 or (07) 3284 7112.