Aftercare for dental implants

What is the best way to look after your implants after placement?

Although dental implants may not be natural teeth, they still need to be cared and looked after in a similar manner to natural teeth. This important in order to keep them healthy and long lasting, with most lasting over twenty years if correctly cared for.

It can help to understand exactly what a dental implant is to help you understand why such care should be taken considering it is not a natural tooth and therefore can't decay. A dental implant is essentially a screw made from titanium that is placed into the jaw bone at the appropriate place. Once this has been done, a healing period is allowed during which time, the jaw bone will bond itself tightly around the titanium screw. This leaves the patient with a good solid base on which to attach the replacement tooth; usually a crown. To prevent possible rejection, you will be asked by your cosmetic dentist to stop smoking for a period of time either side of the procedure (presuming that you do in the first place of course).

The reason for this is that smokers are at higher risk of infections which may cause the implant to be rejected by your body. Smoking also adds to the healing time. As you might expect, there may be a little swelling and even some discomfort after the procedure. This is usually easily treated with painkillers and possible an ice pack on the affected area. Although dental implantation is a successful procedure, you should still allow yourself some time to recover and not do anything strenuous for a few days afterwards. As you can imagine, you will have to initially eat either liquidised food or very soft food such as mashed potatoes for several days, possibly even a couple of weeks.

Under no circumstances should you bite into anything hard such as nuts for example. Being kind to yourself and eating soft foods will help the implant to heal and give you a much better chance of success and avoid extra pain at the same time. Your dentist will advise you but many suggest rinsing the mouth out with an oral mouth wash or a warm saline solution as this will help to keep the area clean and sterile. Once the implant has settled, you should start to clean it with a soft toothbrush. This makes sure that the gums are kept free from infections which is very important in preventing rejection. Once the implants are fully settled and bedded in, you should be able to slowly build up to using them normally as you would with your natural teeth. You should always keep appointments with your dentist though to keep a check on them during the years to come.