Long Term Care for Dental Implants
Looking after your dental implants is crucial to ensure their durability. Whether you have had one or multiple implants, it is vital to maintain good oral hygiene and care for them just like your natural teeth.
Neglect can lead to the development of plaque and tartar that may result in gum disease. In fact, gum infection near an implant can travel to the bone quicker than an infection near an original tooth. Here are some tips to maintain your dental implants:
Follow Instructions for Recovery
Initially, your dentist may place a gauze pad at the site of the implant and ask you to bite down firmly for an hour. When you go home, you must follow the instructions given by your dentist for quick recovery.
You can minimize pain by taking over-the-counter painkillers or holding an ice pack to your cheek. Stay on a soft diet for the first few days to avoid infection. Avoid disturbing the surgical site with your tongue or fingers.
Schedule Follow-Up Appointments
A follow-up visit to your dentist is vital so that they can check for any unusual issues that may develop. If any problem is detected, they would be able to address it early to ensure your implant’s comfort, function and appearance.
Your dentist may ask you to visit more regularly during the first few months. Osseointegration, the process of fusion of the implant with the bone, may take several months and therefore needs to be monitored by the dentist.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
Adhering to good oral hygiene practices is vital for the overall longevity of dental implants. After 24 hours following your implant surgery, rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water up to 5 times a day, and especially after meals.
Although implants are artificial teeth, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day in the long run. You may need some special cleaning tools, such as implant-specific floss, to remove food particles near the implant.
If you fail to clean your teeth regularly, bacteria accumulation may result in inflammation. If this is not treated in a timely manner, there may be bone loss around the implant. In case the implant loses anchorage in the bone, it risks loosening up and falling out.
The site of an implant usually heals easily with minimum discomfort. Dentists let the gum heal and allow enough time for the implant to bond with the jawbone before fitting replacement teeth.
The healing process ordinarily lasts between six weeks to six months. The stitches are either manually removed or dissolve on their own after 7-14 days. Make sure you avoid smoking as it can interrupt healing. Nicotine tends to tighten the blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the soft tissues, which can have a negative impact on the immune response.
According to patient reports, implants can be less painful than tooth extraction or root canal treatment. Make sure you care for your implants similar to your original teeth in order to keep them secure. If you are suffering from a toothache or have a tooth or two missing, schedule an appointment with us at JP Dental & Implant Center by calling us at (970) 822-7622 today.