Restoring your dental health with implants was a wise decision. Whether the implants were the result of illness, injury, or prior poor dental care, you now can eat, chew, speak, and smile without pain or embarrassment.
Understanding the proper dental implant care at home will go a long way to making this corrective procedure last a lifetime. Dental implant management begins on the day that the implants are inserted and will continue for the rest of your life. Here are some ways that you can give your implants the best healing environment before your crowns are attached.
DENTAL IMPLANT CARE AT HOME
DAY OF DENTAL IMPLANT SURGERY
Following the implant surgery, the dentist will insert some medication to prevent any infection and to promote the healing process. If you will be wearing a denture, it will placed over the surgical site. You will be instructed on how long to wear the denture following the surgery to help prevent swelling.
Swelling around the surgery is very common and typically subsides within 48 to 72 hours. You can ease pain or swelling with an ice pack. Depending on your medical condition, you may be given antibiotics and pain medication to take for several days after surgery.
Do not drink any hot beverages for the first 24 hours and do not use a straw. You will be instructed on how to clean the area using a gentle mouthwash with sodium fluoride, or a salt water rinse, in the evening. You can continue to brush and floss your teeth while the surgical site is healing. To prevent pressure on the stitches, it is best to avoid any strenuous work or exercises for a day or two.
FIRST WEEK AFTER DENTAL IMPLANT SURGERY
Your dentist will give you instructions on when it will be okay to gently brush the surgical site, what type of low-abrasive toothpaste to use, what foods to avoid while the site is healing, and when it will be okay to resume any heavy lifting or exercise program.
To assist the healing process, do not touch the surgical site with your fingers or your tongue. If you had more than one implant inserted, you will be shown how to use a small Interdental or Interproximal brush to clean away plaque and food particles from the implant site. You can dip these brushes into an antimicrobial rinse to clean the implant crevice and the surrounding gum tissue.
DAILY DENTAL IMPLANT CARE PRIOR TO PLACEMENT OF CROWNS
Having the best dental cleaning products will help to prevent the accumulation of plaque and bacteria in and around your implants between checkups with your dentist before your crowns are attached. You want to use a soft, nylon, bristle toothbrush, either manual or electric, a non-alcohol rinse, an implant friendly, non-abrasive toothpaste or gel that does not contain stannous fluoride, and a water powered flosser with an adjustable water pressure control.
Your dentist may recommend the best water flosser for your oral hygiene. Some water flossers have a variety of different tips specifically designed for optimum dental hygiene. There is a classic tip for routine water powered flossing, an orthodontic tip to help remove plaque, a special bristled tip to help clean away bacteria and food particles around implants and other restorations, and a periodontal pocket tip to rinse below the gumline.
Even with all the best dental cleaning equipment, the most important component is you. By following a good daily dental implant care routine, you are helping to prevent any additional dental problems.