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How to Care for Dental Implants

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth. They are designed to provide a long-lasting and durable solution for people who have lost teeth due to injury, disease, or other reasons. Dental implants have a high success rate and can last up to 30 years and beyond, for the rest of the patient’s life. 

However, like any surgical procedure, dental implants require proper aftercare in order to ensure their success and longevity. In this guide, we will discuss some important tips for properly caring for your dental implants after the surgery. Be sure to consult your dentist with any aftercare questions while you recover.


Dental implants aftercare tips

Types of Dental Implants

These are the 5 different kinds of dental implants.

  • Endosteal implants: The most common type of dental implant. Endosteal implants are placed directly into the jawbone and are typically used to replace a single missing tooth or to anchor a bridge or denture
  • Subperiosteal implants: These implants are placed on top of the jawbone instead of within it. Subperiosteal implants are typically used in cases where there is not enough healthy jawbone to support an endosteal implant.
  • Mini implants: Mini implants are smaller than traditional implants and are often for supporting small prosthetics, such as a single crown or a partial denture.
  • All-on-4 implants: All-on-4 implants replace a full arch of missing teeth. Four implants are placed in the jawbone and a full arch of artificial teeth is then attached.
  • Zygomatic implants: This type of implant is used in cases where the jawbone is too thin or weak to support traditional implants. Zygomatic implants are longer than traditional implants and are anchored in the cheekbone (zygoma) rather than the jawbone.

7 Must-Know Dental Implant Aftercare Tips

Here are some key points to remember when caring for your dental implants. Proper aftercare is essential for the success and longevity of dental implants. By following these tips and your dentist's instructions, you can help ensure that your dental implants heal properly and last for many years to come.

1. Follow Your Dentist's Instructions

Your dentist will provide you with specific instructions for caring for your dental implants. This may include taking prescribed medications, avoiding certain foods and activities, and practicing good oral hygiene. This also could include frequently washing your mouth with a cup of hot water and a teaspoon of salt. Be sure not to burn your mouth when doing so.

2. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Avoid brushing the surgical site for a few days, resuming cleaning once the tenderness subsides. It would be best if you clean your other teeth as normal beginning the evening of the procedure, brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. It's also important to floss at least once a day to remove any food particles or plaque that may have accumulated around the implant.

3. Avoid Certain Foods and Activities

Avoid hot foods for the first 24 hours post-surgery. In the first few weeks after your surgery, it's important to avoid eating hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that could damage the implant or the surrounding teeth. Rinse your mouth after eating to help keep the surgical area clean.

4. Avoid Using Tobacco Products

Tobacco use can cause implant failure and increase the risk of infection. Additionally, avoid activities that could cause trauma to the implant, such as contact sports or activities that involve biting down on hard objects. If you are to smoke, wait until all wounds have healed.

5. Avoid Putting too Much Pressure on the Implant

Putting excess pressure on your new dental implant(s) is not recommended in order to aid in the healing process. Avoid strenuous activities that could cause trauma to the implant, including contact sports or exercise activities that involve biting down on hard objects. Your dentist may also recommend that you avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the implant is located for the first few weeks to reduce pressure. And be sure to not disturb the surgical area with your tongue or fingers.

6. Visit your Dentist Regularly for Follow-Up Appointments

Your dentist will want to check the implant to ensure that it is healing properly and to make any necessary adjustments. In some cases, your dentist may also take x-rays to check the progress of the implant.

7. Watch for Signs of Infection

To reduce the risk of infection, it's important to practice good oral hygiene and avoid activities that could increase the risk of infection. Additionally, if you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discomfort around the implant, you should contact your dentist right away.


Frequently Asked Questions on Aftercare of Dental Implants

What can you not do after dental implants?

  • Don't eat hard, crunchy, or chewy foods
  • Don't brush or floss around the implant vigorously
  • Don't smoke or use tobacco products
  • Don't drink alcohol excessively
  • Don't engage in strenuous physical activity

How many days of rest should you take after a dental implant?

It’s recommended you take 1-2 days rest after receiving dental implants. Rare cases may allow you to return to work the same day, but it’s best to at least take a day off and let your mouth recover from the surgery.

What helps dental implants heal faster?

You can help your dental implants heal faster by taking it easy and using ice packs to reduce any pain or discomfort. Be sure to stay properly hydrated and adjust your diet to avoid hot and spicy foods. Other methods such as rinsing your mouth with saline solution can only help speed up the healing process.

How long does it take for gums to heal after an implant?

It may take your gums up to 2 weeks to fully heal after an implant. Patients begin experiencing significant improvements in their gums after a few days post-surgery, with healing noticeable after 3 days.

What can I eat 3 days after a dental implant?

After you clear the initial 24 to 48-hour period post-surgery, you should still stick to softer-based foods on day 3, introducing more chewy foods gradually. Recommended meals during this period include macaroni and cheese, pancakes, rice, soft bread, cooked vegetables, eggs, and various kinds of pasta.

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