Caring for Dental Implants
The daily care regimen for dental implants is not unlike that of maintaining real teeth. At Alexandra Garcia, DDS, MS, we pride ourselves on making sure you have all the information you need to efficiently care for your new implant so you can keep up that beautiful smile over a lifetime. If you or a loved one already have a dental implant or are considering getting one and have any questions about proper care, call us today to schedule an appointment at (346) 250-2930.
Why is Taking Care of Dental Implants Important?
Without daily care, your implants and dental implant materials can develop potentially serious issues. The earliest warning sign is the presence of bleeding (mucositis), which is treatable and reversible if caught early. If the process advances to bone loss (peri-implantitis), however, that is not reversible. Left untreated, peri-implantitis may progress to severe bone loss and your implant needing to be removed.
For optimal recovery, it’s important that you follow these directions for the first two weeks after receiving your implant:
|A small amount of bleeding should be expected immediately after the procedure. This is usually stopped by keeping pressure on the bleeding area. You’ll be instructed to bite firmly on a gauze pad for a specified amount of time. It can be gently removed once you get home. Should you experience any further bleeding or oozing post-surgery, it can be stopped by biting down again on a roll of moist gauze for 30 minutes. If the bleeding persists after this, please call us.
|Swelling is normal after treatment. To control this, you may use an ice pack, ice-filled plastic bag, or towel with ice on the outside of your cheek in the surgical area. Apply the ice for 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for the first 24 hours. This won’t prevent swelling completely but will help reduce it faster. Keeping your head elevated during the first two nights of sleep will also help minimize swelling.
|For the first two days post-surgery, only consume liquids (gelatin, pudding, soup, applesauce, ice cream, yogurt, etc) to prevent food particles from becoming lodged in the surgical area. From the third day onward, you may also eat semi-liquid foods (mashed potatoes, pancakes, eggs, soft pasta, etc). Avoid hard, crunchy foods (popcorn, nuts, chips, etc) for the first week. You may resume your normal diet afterward.
|Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
|Any pain can be managed with medications prescribed by us. Drink at least ½ cup of water or juice with your medication to help your body absorb it faster and minimize stomach irritation. Immediately report any abnormal side-effects from your medicine. Antibiotics may be recommended to help prevent infection.
Tips for Oral Hygiene
You must commit to not only keeping up with everyday hygiene at home but also regular dental visits. We recommend that you come in for a professional exam and cleaning every 3-6 months. Your dental implants will be examined with an annual X-ray to ascertain their current condition.
Dr. Garcia will measure the gums around your implant the same way they would be measured around your natural teeth. Your X-rays will also be compared for changes. To check for looseness in any components of the implant, your bite will be tested to confirm it’s still functional.
Recommended aides to maintain your dental hygiene include but are not limited to:
|Brush and floss twice a day to keep your teeth and implants free of plaque, especially after meals. We may recommend a small, soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, depending on the patient.
|Use floss capable of cleaning all sides of the abutment, and brush gently for thorough cleaning.
|Use low-abrasive, tartar-controlling toothpaste.
|Antimicrobial mouth rinses are not necessary but can be useful.
Remember, for any further questions you or a loved one may have about how to properly care for dental implants, schedule an appointment with Dr. Garcia at (346) 250-2930.