How to care for your dental implant
If cared for properly, dental implants can last just as long as normal healthy teeth. After you’ve had your implant fitted, you’ll need to follow your dentist’s advice to make sure you don’t develop an infection, but you also need to keep up good oral health in the long term to make sure you get the most out of your implant. This article outlines how to keep your implant (and your new smile) clean and healthy.
Keeping your dental implant clean
For two weeks after having your implant fitted, you must rinse the area with antiseptic mouthwash (which your dentist can recommend to you) morning and night for one minute. You’ll also need to rinse your mouth with warm salt water after every meal.
Brushing your implant
It's critical that you don't brush your implant until you’ve had your stitches removed. After a few days, you can brush your teeth again gently, avoiding the implant site as best you can After two weeks, and the removal of the stitches, you can brush the implant with antiseptic gel and a soft brush. All cleaning devices used on your implant must be plastic, as metal may scratch the surface of the implant.
Eating with a dental implant
For the first week after having your implants fitted, you should only eat soft foods such as mashed potato and soup. You should also avoid anything that might get stuck in your teeth like seeds or popcorn. If these get into the implant site, it could cause an infection. Once your implant has been fitted and has fully healed, you’ll be able to eat all your favourite foods, just as you would with normal healthy teeth!
Pain after having a dental implant
It's likely you’ll have some pain, swelling and bruising after your implant surgery. This can be reduced with the help of over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. It's also possible that the area may bleed; this is nothing to worry about. If this cannot be stopped with light pressure, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Smoking and dental implants
If you smoke, your dentist will advise you give up before you have your implant fitted. Research has shown that the rate of implant failure is much higher for those who smoke than those who don’t1.
Longer term oral health
Once your implant is healed, it’s important to keep up good oral health to make sure you get the maximum lifespan out of your implant. You should make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly. It’s also recommended you see the hygienist frequently to have a good scale and polish. They can also see if any areas need more attention when brushing.
After you’ve had your implant fitted, you and your dentist will arrange review appointments to ensure the procedure has gone smoothly and that you haven’t developed an infection. If you have any concerns or you think you might have an infection in the implant site, you should always contact your implant dentist as soon as you can.
If you are thinking of having a dental implant, learn more about the procedure here.