Dental Implant Aftercare
When permanent teeth are lost, replacing them with strong dental restorations is vital to restoring oral function, preserving facial structure, and preventing further dental complications. For tooth loss, there is no dental restoration that mimics the natural teeth more closely than dental implants.
Dental implants fuse with the jaw to act as artificial tooth roots that support artificial teeth. Dental implant treatment provides a durable, secure, and long-lasting replacement for lost teeth, provided they are cared for properly. Dr. Mark Luria, of Dearborn Family Dentistry in Dearborn, MI, provides patients with dental implant aftercare tips that promote the immediate and long-term success of these dental restorations.
Care for Incision Sites
Dental implants are surgically placed through the gums and into the jaw, where they are meant to fuse with surrounding bone tissues. To complete this process, small incisions are made in the gums above the implant site. Stitches are used to close incisions at the end of surgery. It is important that patients care for their incision sites properly to minimize the risk of infection. Patients should bite down gently on gauze packs (replacing the gauze as needed) until bleeding has stopped.
Once bleeding has stopped, it is important not to pull down on the lips, touch the incisions, or otherwise disturb the incision site. The incision site must also be kept clean. Patients can brush their teeth following dental implant treatment, but they should be gentle near the implant site. Salt water rinses are a great way to keep incision sites clean. Patients can rinse the mouth with warm salt water three to four times a day, starting the day after implant treatment.
Manage Side Effects
Dental implant surgery is likely to result in minor to moderate side effects, including swelling, tenderness, and discomfort around the implant site. There are aftercare tips that our Dearborn patients can follow to minimize side effects and promote healing, such as:
- Keep the head slightly elevated when resting
- Apply ice packs or cold compresses to the outside of the face near the treatment site
- Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed
- Refrain from smoking or drinking out of a straw
- Avoid strenuous activities for at least 24 to 48 hours after surgery
Adjust Your Diet
It is important to avoid placing excess pressure on the implant site in the days following dental implant surgery, so patients must adjust their diet and give the oral tissues time to heal. Immediately after surgery, patients should stick to liquids or foods that are very soft, such as yogurt, pudding, jello, and applesauce. Patients can progress to foods that require a little chewing within a couple of days after their procedure. This may include pasta, rice, soft bread, mashed potatoes, and eggs. Patients can gradually resume a normal diet as tolerated, but should avoid chewing on the implant site for at least two weeks.
Long-Term Dental Implant Care
The abovementioned aftercare tips are essential to promoting healing and the immediate success of implant treatment. There are also some long-term care tips that patients should keep in mind to protect their implants once recovery is complete.
- Brush the teeth at least twice a day
- Floss daily
- Stay well hydrated
- Schedule biannual dental exams and cleanings
- Avoid using the teeth as tools or biting down on non-food items
- Wear a mouthguard when participating in contact sports
Dental implants are considered by most dentists to be the gold standard in tooth loss treatment. If you have questions about dental implant treatment, or would like to know if you are an ideal candidate for this procedure, Dr. Mark Luria can answer any questions you have. To schedule an appointment at Dearborn Family Dentistry, send us a message online or call (313) 565-5507 at your earliest convenience.