How to Maintain Healthy Implants
After Dr. Shlafer places your dental implant, the success of your new tooth largely depends on you. The foods you eat, the oral care products you choose, and other factors all help to determine the long-term results of your restoration.
Explore our guide to learn some valuable advice on post-op implant care.
The Week Following Implant Surgery
The first few days to a week after surgery is the most important phase of your implant procedure. During this period, it’s essential that you treat your teeth and gums with extreme caution to avoid setting your treatment back.
The following guidelines are especially important to keep in mind:
- Don’t eat tough, sticky, or chewy foods — Tough foods such as steak and hard bread, along with chewy or sticky foods such as gummies and caramel, can infect your surgical area and ruin your implant. Stick to clear liquids and soft foods for at least the first few days after treatment before slowly reintroducing all the meals you love.
- Don’t spit or use a straw — Forceful spitting or suction puts pressure on your new implant, potentially creating a painful dry socket and delaying the healing process. When you drink liquids, make sure to avoid using a straw.
- Don’t drink alcohol or smoke — While you can resume enjoying these habits after your implant site heals, resist the temptation for at least a few days after your surgery. Drinking alcohol and smoking both dry out your mouth and reduce your blood flow, interfering with the natural healing process.
- Rinse with salt water — Rinse your mouth with salt water two to three times per day to reduce inflammation. We especially recommend rinsing after you finish meals.
Long-Term Implant Care
After you’ve recovered from surgery, caring for your implants becomes much easier. Follow these simple tips to keep your implant healthy and beautiful for life.
Oral Hygiene Routine
Though dental implants are resistant to decay, you still can’t neglect your surrounding teeth and gums. If the tissue around your implant gets infected, it can lead to peri-implantitis and cause your implant to fail. Not to mention, failing to maintain proper oral hygiene will likely lead to further dental issues that require additional treatment.
To prevent this, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss at least once a day to rid your mouth of bacteria and other debris. Rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash is also a good idea to keep your smile healthy and shining.
Choosing the Right Products for Dental Implant Care
You can clean your dental implant just as you would a natural tooth. Unlike other treatment options such as dentures, no special cleaning solutions or messy adhesives are necessary. However, it’s helpful to keep a few things in mind when selecting your oral care products.
To maintain healthy implants, we recommend the following:
- Toothbrush — Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching your implant fixture or irritating your gums. Both standard and electronic toothbrushes are effective as long as the bristles are soft.
- Toothpaste — Stay away from toothpaste brands with abrasive ingredients, such as those made for teeth whitening and smokers.
- Floss — We recommend nylon-coated floss for working around your implant. Alternatively, interdental brushes are a great tool for cleaning the spots in your mouth that are most difficult to reach.
- Mouthwash — Choose an antibacterial mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol to avoid drying out your mouth.
Visit Dr. Shlafer for Check-Ups
The final step of keeping your implants healthy is scheduling check-ups with Dr. Shlafer at least twice a year. In addition to cleaning and polishing your teeth, Dr. Shlafer will use these visits to examine your implant and check for any potential issues that could interfere with its success.
Contact our practice in Farmington Hills today and schedule your free consultation.