The best dental implants have a long lifespan and rarely need maintenance, but there are still steps you can take to keep your smile healthy and looking great. This guide will walk you through the first few weeks after your dental implant surgery, as well as provide tips to keeping your smile healthy throughout the rest of your life with dental implants. You’ll learn what dental implant healing stages to expect, how to care for your gums, and how to care for your teeth and mouth so that you can continue to enjoy years of great-looking smiles!
After Tooth Extraction
You can’t count on your dentist to go over everything you need to know about dental implants, so if you’re going through tooth extraction it’s vital that you take care of yourself. While your body is healing from your procedure, there are steps you can take to ensure an easier and faster recovery, and these steps can actually improve your success with dental implants before and after tooth extraction. After surgery, cleanse your mouth gently but thoroughly with salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water) or baking soda (1 teaspoon dissolved in a cup of warm water). Be sure not swallow any solution. For further cleaning, use cotton swabs soaked in hydrogen peroxide; just be sure not to leave them inside your mouth.
Before Dental Implant Placement
Headed to your dentist’s office for dental implant placement? Before you’re sedated, be sure you understand what you can and can’t do during your recovery period. You will have pain, swelling and discomfort for a few days after your surgery, but that doesn’t mean you have to lie around all day watching reruns of Seinfeld. In fact, patients who are able to get up and move right away tend to experience shorter healing times than those who don’t—and they often end up feeling better overall. Still, moving around won’t come naturally in the beginning; until your body adjusts, some activities may hurt more than others. Consider these tips on how to care for yourself during each stage of dental implant healing
During the Healing Process
During your dental implant healing stages, take care not to smoke and get plenty of rest. Smoking can increase bleeding in response to any kind of surgery, including dental implants. Aside from helping you look forward to your new teeth, a night’s sleep also helps with healing as your body rests and repairs itself. If you feel comfortable eating after your dental implant surgery, you may be able to resume solid foods sooner than liquids or pureed food (depending on what type of anesthesia was used). To speed up healing time, try taking a multivitamin that has vitamin C every day. Vitamin C promotes healing throughout your body, including bone and gum tissue. If you have more questions about how and when you should eat after dental implant surgery, talk with your dentist directly.
After the Implant Is Set in Place
Once your implant is in place, take extra care when brushing your teeth near it. Don’t use a hard-bristled toothbrush, and don’t hit or tap your teeth together. These actions could dislodge your implant, leading to additional treatment costs. Use floss around dental implants carefully—for example, if you notice plaque has built up under or between them. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams so that he or she can monitor any changes in how well your implant is healing as compared with natural teeth.