The number of persons with dental implants globally is rapidly increasing, with approximately 3 million people currently using them. Dental implants are one of the best solutions for replacing missing teeth. And while they are quite durable, you need to take care of them. If you just got dental implants or have been considering the treatment, it is essential to know how to take care of them so they will last.
Without the correct aftercare and maintenance, your dental implants can get infected. Read on to learn how to care for dental implants.
Use Over the Counter Medication
Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or low-dose aspirin(100mg daily) to reduce swelling and pain. Do not take aspirin if you have bleeding gums or ulcers.
Take it right before the anesthetic effects wear off or if the pain becomes intolerable. Your dentist can advise on which products and doses may be most appropriate for your unique situation. Take pain medication after 6 hours of the procedure.
It is normal for there to be some bleeding within 72 hours after you get your dental implant. It is essential to ensure that it doesn’t get too bad and start running down your chin or dripping onto your clothes.
If this does happen, try not to move around too much until someone can come over and help you stop the bleeding with gauze pads. Use the gauze pads after 6-10 hours.
After the procedure, don’t do exercises, don’t lift anything too heavy, or risk injury; forceful spitting, smoking, or using a straw can cause the formation of blood clots.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
The risk of developing peri-implantitis is high if bacteria and plaque are allowed to build up on the implant crown. If your implant is in the back of your mouth, find an interdental brush with a thin head for cleaning around it. After brushing, rinse with warm water with salt to remove debris.
Do not floss for a few days after getting dental implants. After a few days, try a water flosser if you want to clean between your teeth and under your gums, where regular floss can’t go.
Use toothpaste without abrasive elements like stain remover or baking soda; you should use a toothpaste designed for that purpose or contact your dentist for a recommendation.
Diet plays a role in your teeth and gums’ health and appearance. For example, eating many sugary foods or drinking sodas can lead to tooth decay. The same goes for foods that are acidic or salty. Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco because these can cause gum disease.
What’s more, certain foods can help you keep your mouth healthy and clean. For example, dark leafy greens like broccoli and spinach contain vitamin A, which helps keep your gums healthy. Also, eat only soft foods like eggs.
A week after surgery, take cold foods and beverages. Be sure to drink plenty of water, but avoid pouring liquid directly into the incision. On the first day, aim for five to six 8-ounce glasses of cold drinks. Do not drink through a straw. Stay away from anything crunchy or hard.
Dental Visits and Checkups
It is essential to follow up with your dentist after 14 days to remove stitches. Your dentist will ensure that your implants are healing properly and there are no signs of infection.
After removing the stitches, have regular checkups, and the dentist will check your gums and teeth for any signs of infection or unusual growth. A thorough cleaning is also essential; it allows your dentist to remove plaque and tartar that can build up on the implant and make it more susceptible to decay.
You should visit your dentist if you notice any changes or issues related to the implant, such as:
- Pain in the jaw
- change in sensation of the tongue or cheek on one side of the face
- A change in taste
- A foul smell coming from the mouth or throat area
Why Care for Dental Implants?
Dental implants include a post inserted into the jawbone and an artificial tooth attached. The post acts as support while the tooth gets anchored in place. Implants can last for 25 years if properly cared for. Care for implants to:
- Avoid infection, which can lead to bone loss
- Avoid gum disease and tooth decay
- Maintain the strength of your bite
In contrast to dental bridges and dentures, dental implants get fixed in the jawbone. Dentists can use implants in individual teeth or groups of teeth. Dental implants allow patients to chew normally, speak clearly and appear as they did before they lost teeth. However, proper maintenance of dental implants is essential to good oral health.