Planning to get a dental implant? It's a generally safe and effective procedure that results in an improved bite and better appearance for nearly all patients. To avoid any problems and keep your new implant in the best condition possible, there are a few steps you can take to care for your new implant. Here are the 5 most important ways you can do your part.
Ice and Rest. Icing the area after surgery (for about 20 minutes at a time) and trying to rest for a day or two will help with swelling. If discomfort continues beyond 48 hours, a warm towel may also help reduce pain.
Painkillers and Antibiotics. Your dentist will likely prescribe an antibiotic and a special mouth rinse to fight infection. She also may suggest an oral painkiller – either by prescription or an over-the-counter medicine – to use if symptoms cannot be alleviated with ice and rest. Be sure to follow all directions on any prescription medicines, especially following the full course of antibiotics.
Eating and Drinking. Immediately after the implant is placed, drink plenty of water and try to eat mainly soft foods. Cold, soft foods such as smoothies, yogurt, cottage cheese and ice cream have the added advantage of providing a soothing cold to your mouth. Avoid unnecessary sucking (such as using a straw) and smoking.
Dental Hygiene. The implant may need more dental care than your other teeth due to being artificial and leaving more space for food to get caught or bacteria to grow. For this reason, brushing and flossing twice a day is vital, as is continuing to use a mouth rinse. You may also want to use a special dental pick or flossing tool to care for the gums around the implant.
Checkups. Keeping the bone and gums around the implant healthy is the best way to ensure that your implant doesn't fail due to peri-implantitis (inflammation of the bone into which the implant is placed). Inflammation, bacteria and the resulting breakdown of the gums can make the implant become unstable – possibly even causing it to fail. To avoid this, make sure you work with your dentist on a regular basis to check on your tooth and gum health and have regular cleanings.
By following these basic guidelines and all your dentist's instructions, you can help ensure the smoothest recovery after your implant surgery as well as the long-term health of the implant and the rest of your teeth. To learn more, contact a dental clinic like West Gate Dental.