You can directly impact the success of your dental implants!
How you care for your smile, including the foods you eat and the care products you use, can affect your new dental implant. Explore our guide to learn how to care for your dental implants after placement and well into the future.
Tips for a Successful Post-Op Recovery
The first few days following your surgery are crucial, acting as the foundation for a long, successful life with dental implants. Dr. Henninger recommends that you:
- Avoid eating hard foods that could injure the surgical site. For the first few days, we encourage our patients to stick with soft or pureed foods and clear liquids.
- Don’t use a straw, spit, or do anything that can irritate the surgical site. Actions such as these can prevent the area from properly healing.
- Rinse with salt water multiple times a day to clean the surgical area and reduce inflammation. You can avoid spitting by letting the water gently flow out the corner of your mouth.
- Refrain from smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. These actions can impede the healing process by reducing blood flow.
Long-term Dental Implant Care
After the initial healing process is over, follow these guidelines to ensure that your dental implants remain healthy and attractive for years to come.
Maintain Strong Oral Hygiene
The health of your gums is integral to the long-term success of your dental implants. While your implants won’t decay or become infected like your natural teeth, any infection to your gums can put them in jeopardy.
Infected gums can lead to peri-implantitis, a condition that causes bone loss. This can loosen the implant and ultimately lead to implant failure.
You can defend your new smile by brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossing after meals. We also advise our patients to rinse with mouthwash at the end of your oral care routine to extinguish any remaining debris or germs.
Learn More About Peri-Implantitis
Peri-implantitis is an infectious disease that causes inflammation of the bone structure and the gums supporting your dental implants. It typically develops when you don’t properly care for the implant site.
A lack of brushing, flossing, or routine visits to Dr. Henninger’s office can increase your likelihood of developing the condition. Other risk factors include:
- Previous gum disease diagnosis
- Poor plaque control
The easiest way to avoid peri-implantitis and ensure that your implant lasts for many years to come is to maintain a proper oral health routine.
Choose the Best Dental Care Products
While you can brush and floss your dental implants the same way you do your natural teeth, there are some guidelines for choosing your oral care products. Avoiding products that can scratch or damage the replacement teeth will make sure they look beautiful for years to come.
- Toothbrush – Choose one with soft bristles that won’t irritate the surrounding gum tissue or scratch your restoration.
- Toothpaste – Find a gentle product that doesn’t contain any harsh or abrasive ingredients, which are common in toothpaste designed for teeth whitening or for smokers.
- Floss – Pick one that’s nylon coated or specially made for use with dental implants.
- Mouthwash – Avoid any that list alcohol as an ingredient because it can dry out your mouth and interfere with healing.
Visit Us for Regular Checkups
Your regular professional cleanings and checkups are even more important now that you have dental implants.
During these appointments, we’ll thoroughly clean your teeth and examine your entire mouth for any potential problems. If any issues are found, we can begin treatment before these issues endanger the health of your implant.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the healing process after dental implant surgery?
Since dental implants are a custom procedure, the recovery process will vary from person to person. However, you can expect your jaw to completely heal within 6-9 months.
Recovery time can be affected by the number of implants you receive, whether you require bone grafting before the procedure, how well you follow post-operative instructions, if you have diabetes, or if you smoke tobacco products.
Is pain around the surgical site normal?
Initially, you may experience some discomfort. A simple over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (E.g., ibuprofen, Advil®, Motrin®, or Aleve®) can be used to manage the pain. If after two weeks the pain doesn’t subside, contact Dr. Henninger right away — this can be a sign of infection.
When is the right time to schedule my first post-op visit?
Generally, Dr. Henninger schedules the first post-operative checkup 1-2 weeks after treatment. This allows enough time for the surgical site to heal and for him to identify any issues before they get out of hand.