A: Dental implants are like natural teeth except that you’ll never have a cavity or need a filling again. So, people should; number one—keep them very clean with brushing, flossing, and special tools we give you. It’s not that different than having natural teeth that need to be kept clean of course and obviously, not abusing them.
Teeth are there for patients to function, to feel healthy, to feel happy, and to look good. They’re not supposed to be abused. So, patients can eat any normal food—they can talk, they can smile, they can be themselves again.
Just come to the dentist twice a year and keep them nice and clean—then, implants should last a lifetime.
Have you recently or are about to get dental implants? You’re probably very excited at the way this procedure will change your life. They’re going to give you more confidence through your smile, allow you the freedom to eat what you like and so much more. Given that people with beautiful smiles experience more success in life, you should actually be ecstatic!
However, it’s important to consider that if you want to enjoy the full benefits of your dental implants they do require some care. If you take good care of your dental implants, you can expect them to look amazing and last a lifetime.
For the most part, the care for dental implants is not much different than natural teeth. You want to brush and floss twice daily and practice good oral hygiene.
Immediate Care For Dental Implants Post-Op
The required care for dental implants actually starts the moment you walk out of the facility. In fact, immediate aftercare is critical to the longevity of your dental implants. Proper aftercare can make the difference between a successful implant and one that fails.
After receiving dental implants, you’re going to experience some minor pain and swelling. It’s completely normal so do not be alarmed.
There are some things you’ll want to be sure to do after your procedure:
- Control bleeding by gently biting on the gauze that was put in your mouth by Dr. Monarres.
- For the first 12 hours post-op, try not to move around too much and make sure your head stays elevated.
- Put an ice pack against your face every 15-20 mins as needed for swelling and pain
- For the first day (24 hours) only eat soft foods and non-carbonated beverages at room temperature. Even better if you can do this for three days to ensure proper rest.
- If pain meds are needed, use them sparingly and as prescribed.
- Do not rinse your mouth for at least 24 hours.
Once you’re out of the woods of recovery, you should be enjoying your dental implants more and more as everything heals. During this time and for the rest of your life, the way you care for dental implants determines their longevity. So, here’s some tips to keep in mind:
Only Use a Soft Nylon Toothbrush
After getting dental implants, you’ll likely need to change your toothbrush. Most people use a medium toothbrush with bristles that are kind of harsh on implants. In fact, some bristles out there can scratch the surface of your implants. We recommend switching to a soft nylon toothbrush.
This is because soft nylon bristles are far more pliable and gentler on your dental implants. There is also a tool called Proxabrush that gets the hard-to-reach areas around your implants.
Once you’ve made the switch to the soft bristle toothbrush just stick to normal brushing and flossing twice a day.
Don’t Use Abrasive Dental Care Products
Whether toothpaste or an oral rinse, you will want to stick with sensitive toothpaste without abrasives as these can be uncomfortable. Additionally, avoid oral rinses with bold flavors such as cinnamon or wintergreen mint. Their peppery bite can make your mouth feel quite uncomfortable.
We say this twice on purpose. Because—you may not know it, but only 16% of adults floss their teeth daily. That translates into nearly all of the adult population in the US not flossing enough!
If you’re in that group, now is as good as time as ever to change your habits, considering the investment you’ve just made.
With dental implants, flossing plays a bigger role than ever before with natural teeth. This is because plaque can easily build up around implants. As you know, plaque buildup can lead to a domino effect of issues.
Just because dental implants won’t decay, doesn’t mean you can’t develop gum disease. Gum disease left untreated can still cause you to lose a tooth if the implant comes out due to weakened gum tissue. However, the good news is, there are all kinds of floss that are made especially for dental implants. You have no excuse not to floss now.
If you’re like most people though, you struggle with remembering to floss throughout your busy day. Try some of these tips to help build a solid flossing routine.
- Set reminders on your phone to remind twice a day
- Keep floss in your car or purse, this way you always have it when you need it
- Reward yourself for reaching floss routine milestones such as new shoes for 30 days of flossing
- Floss while watching TV, that’s a multitask worth repeating and it should be easy to do
- Waterpik flossers also make quick and easy work of flossing, just be careful to follow instructions closely
Avoid Sticky Or Hard Foods
Eating foods that are hard or sticky such as hard candies like Jolly Ranchers or Toffee can damage implants as well as natural teeth. You want to care for your implants even more than you did your natural teeth because of your investment. Any remaining natural teeth you have can also be damaged by foods with these textures.
Don’t Drink Or Smoke
Quitting smoking and alcohol is a great boost for your overall health, but extra important with dental implants. Don’t forget, dental implants will take at least 6 months to fully heal. During that time they can be vulnerable to substances that impede healing. Both tobacco use and alcohol use have been shown to impede care for dental implants. It can also slow down the healing process significantly.
Keep Up Your Bi-Annual Dentist Visits
Dental implants will improve your smile but they aren’t a waiver for good oral care. You still need to visit the dentist at least twice a year. If you have certain medical conditions that may make you more at risk for oral disease, then see them accordingly.
Considering Dental Implants In San Antonio?
If you’re thinking that dental implants might be what you are wanting to fix a broken smile—we can help. Dr. Monarres has performed thousands of successful implant procedures around the world. Let us show you how we can give you a brand new lease on life with a new smile. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation for dental implants.