Tips to Care for Dental Implant Restorations
Requests for dental implants are one of the most asked-about advancements in modern dentistry.
Once you’ve made the investment and are enjoying the benefits, taking care of dental implants becomes a priority. For long-term simulation of their proper functioning to improve your appearance and natural chewing functions, this article will help you know what to do. First, anyone eager to talk about dental implants in Woodbury, MN with a trained dentist, may want to understand this from the onset.
Montgomery Dental Care helps ensure that you continue to retain the benefits of your dental implants year after year. However, the care you put into your oral health and hygiene impacts your success. While your dental implants are engineered to last a lifetime, your daily brushing, flossing, and chewing habits have a significant role in ensuring that they remain in premium condition.
Remember, most implant issues that occur can be avoided by taking early preventive steps.
Ongoing Patient Care for Dental Implant Restorations
Adhere to the following ways to protect your oral implants:
- Adhere to Post-Operative Dental Implant Instructions.
- Keep Your Routine Dental Appointments.
- Diligently Brush, Floss, and Rinse.
- Limit Hard and Sticky Food Intake.
- Quit Smoking and Excessive Alcohol Use.
- Keep Post-Implant Surgery Swelling to a Minimum.
- Alert Your Dentist if Concerns Arise.
Below are several ways to care for one or more dental implants so they can continue to give you the smile of your dreams. Extra care during the first 3-4 days post-implant placement is especially important.
1. Adhere to Post-Operative Dental Implant Instructions
After undergoing dental implant surgery, you will receive a list of post-operative recommendations. These will include anything from what types of food to eat, to what not to do, such as using tobacco products for several weeks. You should follow these instructions to the letter and call a dentist for clarification if you are confused.
If you’re prescribed pain medication after your implant placement – follow instructions to keep the pain at a minimum. You can be comfortable through this entire process. Prioritizing post-op guidelines helps reduce the risk of implant failure due to avoidable infection.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to avoid disturbing the wound. Try not to touch the wound or spit for a few days after surgery.
2. Keep Your Routine Dental Appointments
Regular, scheduled oral health checkups ensure that no hidden issues are occurring. Dental implants are highly regarded as sturdy and dependable, yet it is best to have them checked by your implant dentist twice a year. Everything from your teeth, gums, surrounding bone health, inner cheeks, and tongue are evaluated. Your dental cleanings and checkups are your best means of early intervention that keeps your oral health and implant costs in check.
Follow-up dental appointments after dental implant surgery may involve:
- Radiographic CBCT examination of the implants.
- Clinical examination of the peri-implant tissues.
- Evaluating dental implant stability.
- Removing any implant-retained plaque and calculus.
- Establishing maintenance intervals, for example, every 3 months in the first year.
A resonance frequency analysis (RFA) or similar test can measure primary implant stability and monitor implant stability over time. Your dentist not only assesses the stiffness of the bone-implant interface but also makes the detection of any increase or decrease in implant stability easier to detect.
3. Diligently Brush, Floss, and Rinse
This is an essential part of ensuring that your implant investment will keep giving back. The value of simple, proper, and through daily brushing and flossing cannot be overstated. If your dentist recommends an oral rinsing product, follow instructions diligently. Like all positive routines, once a healthy self-care routine is established after receiving dental implants, this home maintenance becomes easy.
The cleaner your teeth and gums are, the healthier your dental implants will be, too. As people age, extra care should be given to both hard and soft tissues in the mouth. A salty mouthwash rise helps to keep bacteria away. Ask your dentist for advice so that you don’t floss or rinse too aggressively. Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is no problem. That said, be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas.
Dental floss may also be useful to deliver antiseptic agents to the implant on a daily basis. Floss can be used like a “shoe-shine rag” movement to facilitate optimal home care procedures around the abutment post.
If you are concerned about what exactly is proper oral hygiene practice due to postsurgical fear of causing damage, your dentist can help you strike a balance. Ask questions and learn the difference between overzealous home care trying to stay absolutely plaque-free, and a lack of oral care.
4. Limit Hard and Sticky Food Intake
Some people struggling to overcome habits of biting their nails, chewing on ice, or favoring hard foods are more at risk of damaging their dental implant restorations. Either can cause damage which means potential additional dental appointments for repairs or replacement. In the first few weeks after implant placement, make a strong effort to avoid sticky and hard foods that could disturb the implant(s) placed in your jaw. Examples of food to temporarily avoid are popcorn, hard candies, peanuts, caramel, seeds, and hard nuts.
As a means of added caution, avoid consuming high amounts of acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. It’s best to also temporarily avoid pithy foods that tend to get stuck between your teeth, like fresh grapefruit. Food particles that get “stuck” increase the risk of infection. Aggressively dislodging them within the first few days should be avoided. As always, don’t open packaging, cans, or bottle tops with your implant teeth.
These food types don’t have to be permanently eliminated from your diet. The reason for caution is that although your implants are permanent, the crowns they support are vulnerable to damage by hard foods during the first few weeks after implant surgery. Once they have sufficiently healed and stabilized, you can return to enjoying crunchy foods.
5. Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol Intake
Moderation is the key to much of daily living. However, smoking can not only disrupt your dental implant healing process, but it also compromises your bone structure and how the implants fuse with the bone. For most people, it is acceptable to enjoy alcoholic beverages occasionally, however, drinking excessive alcohol is known to increase chances of oral issues.
6. Keep Post-Implant Surgery Swelling to a Minimum
To speed up your recovery, it helps to minimize swelling around the implant. It may help to use an ice pack. Swelling often peaks by the third to fourth day; then it starts to subside. Apply an ice pack to one side of your face for 10 minutes; transfer it to the opposite side for an additional 10 minutes. Continue icing your jaw for at least 24 hours.
The differences in the supporting structure of the implant make them more susceptible to inflammation, swelling, and bone loss if plaque accumulates.
Some automated/sonic toothbrushes with multiple brush tips may result in gingival abrasion from prolonged or aggressive use post-implant surgery. Your dentist can recommend a toothbrush shown to not cause hard or soft tissue damage, which effectively reduces plaque and inflammation around the adjacent periodontal tissues.
7. Alert Your Dentist if Concerns Arise
In the unusual event that soft tissue surrounding your dental implants becomes red, swollen, or irritated, call your dentist. The sooner loose dental implants are fixed, the better. Dental patients experiencing peri-implantitis typically respond to treatment when solutions are put in place early. As with all aspects of your oral health, it involves a close relationship with a trusted dentist.
Most concerns can be addresses before they become issues. “Preventive maintenance appointments should be scheduled every 3 to 4 months and a periapical/vertical bitewing radiograph at 6 to 8 months should be compared with the baseline to assess crestal bone changes, which occur often during the first year of loading”, Minkle Gulati, wrote in the July 9, 2014 NIH article.
“The long-term success of implants is fundamentally dependent upon both the patient’s maintenance of effective home care and on the dental team’s administration of professional prophylaxis procedures in the dental office. Hence, patients are considered co-therapists in the maintenance therapy and their contribution is indispensable, especially for the long-term success of dental implants.
Dental implants require constant maintenance and monitoring, which further involves assessment of the patient’s general and oral health, professional implant maintenance, and diligent patient home care as critical factors that will ensure the long-term success of implants and a predictable replacement for natural teeth.” – Implant Maintenance: A Clinical Update by the National Institute of Health
Best of Dental Implant Care in Woodbury, MN
The bottom line is that caring for dental implant restorations adequately is vital to increasing their lifespan. Typically, they survive a lifetime of use; and the nice thing is that they can be cared for like natural teeth. Each dental implant restoration appointment has a purpose; you’ll go home with the needed instructions for each step in the process.
Your dental implant investment is a wise choice. Most often, it is a practical and permanent solution for missing or damaged teeth. Whether you received a single implant or a full arch prosthetic supported by multiple implants, your care, and maintenance ensure longevity. This way, you can take pleasure in the advantages of having dental implants for decades.
Are you interested in knowing all your choices when it comes to Dental Implants? Contact your Woodbury, MN dental implant specialist – Marc L. Montgomery, DDS!
Call 651-738-1880 to speak with Dr. Montgomery today!