Dental Implant Aftercare Tips

Your new dental implant is in place, so hopefully soon it will be ready to support a crown so your set of pearly whites will be complete again. One of the keys to successful implant surgery is proper aftercare. This minimizes the risk of infection, so the jaw bone and gums can heal properly around the implant post. The following tips can help.

Tip #1: Control the Swelling

Controlling the swelling and pain can help you feel more comfortable and encourages quick healing around the implant site. Use a cold compress on the cheek on the side where the new implant is for the first day or two, and then switch to a warm pack for a couple of days if the pain persists. You can also minimize swelling and discomfort by sleeping and reclining with the head slightly elevated.

Tip #2: Skip Orthodontics

If you normally wear partial dentures, retainers, or night guards, leave them out for a few days. These can irritate the implant site, which can interfere with healing. Worst case scenario is they can trap bacteria on the implant site so it doesn't heal properly or the implant is rejected. Generally, you will want to stop wearing all orthodontic devices until the implant is healed, or until your dentist tells you it is safe to resume use.

Tip #3: Take Your Medication

You may be prescribed antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications after the implant surgery. It's important that you take these medications as directed and complete the full course of any antibiotics. You don't want an infection or extreme inflammation to mess up the healing around the implant site.

Tip #4: Keep It Clean

There is no need to skip on oral care after surgery. You can begin brushing your teeth right away, just skip over the implant site and work carefully on the teeth to either side of it. You also need to avoid flossing by the new implant. You will probably be prescribed a medicinal mouthwash that will help keep the new implant clean. Follow the dosage and usage instructions on the bottle.

Tip #5: Be Careful What You Put In Your Mouth

Skip the smoking or chewing tobacco use until after the implant has healed completely. Tobacco use, especially smoking, can minimize blood flow to the gums and inhibit healing. Also, avoid hard and crunchy foods until the implant heals, and try to chew on the opposite side of the mouth. You don't want to irritate or injure the site when it is trying to heal around the new implant post. For more tips, contact a dentist who specializes in dental implants, such as Bruce Mathes DDS.