Dental implants are stronger than natural teeth and last for many years because they are not susceptible to decay or disease. Even so, it is important to take good care of dental implants at home if you don’t want to end up back in the oral surgeon’s office getting replacement implants. At Innovative Implants & Oral Surgery, we send patients home with all the knowledge they need to maintain a beautiful smile for years to come.
Dos for Dental Implant Care
- DO brush your implants at least twice a day, especially after meals. Brush your implants gently using a small, soft bristle manual or electric toothbrush to clean the faces of the teeth and critical areas where the implants and gums meet. Interdental brush heads are very effective at cleaning those hard-to-reach spaces, without scratching the surface of the implants.
- DO choose a low-abrasive, tartar-control toothpaste. Using a normal OTC toothpaste containing fluoride is okay. There is no need to choose a special type of toothpaste, but look for the ADA Seal of Approval to find the best kind.
- DO use a Waterpik flosser. Oral irrigators are ideal tools to reduce hard-to-reach plaque, sticky biofilms, and inflammation. One study found that using a Waterpik was 87% more effective at reducing bleeding and three times more effective at reducing gingivitis than merely rinsing. If you’re not in the market to invest in a Waterpik, you can still get the job done using unwaxed floss moved back and forth between the teeth in a shoeshine motion.
- DO use a mouth rinse. If your mouth is already inflamed, you can add a diluted alcohol-free antimicrobial rinse with chlorhexidine gluconate. These can be prescribed or purchased over-the-counter.
- DO avoid overindulging in sugar. Too much sugar can result in plaque build-up, which jeopardizes gum health.
- DO cut your food into smaller pieces. Most patients are able to consume some of their favorite foods again shortly after surgery. Cutting these foods into smaller pieces, rather than biting and ripping off chunks with your teeth, will better preserve the strength of your implants.
- DO schedule your next dental cleaning. Regular exams and professional cleanings should be done at least twice a year.
Don’ts for Dental Implant Care
- DON’T use toothpaste marketed for “whitening” or “brightening.” Avoid toothpastes containing baking soda or activated charcoal. Stain-removing toothpastes will be too abrasive for your new teeth.
- DON’T use your teeth as tools. Avoid opening packaging, bottles, or cans with your implants.
- DON’T spit or suck through straws immediately following surgery.
- DON’T rush back to eating normal foods. After surgery, you should stick to soft foods like creamy soups, milkshakes, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, applesauce, and mashed potatoes. Avoid too much spice, small seeds, nuts, sticky rice, acidic foods like citrus or tomatoes, and crunchy or hard foods. Once initial healing is complete, you’ll have about 90% of your original chewing power back. Foods to avoid include popcorn kernels, ice, gummy candies, hard candies, taffy, caramel apples, and seeds.
- DON’T smoke. Smoking is one of the biggest contributing factors to dental problems and failed healing.
When to Call the Oral Surgeon About Your Dental Implants
While implant complications and failure rates are extremely low, be on the look-out for:
- Persistent swelling or redness around the implantation site
- Difficulty chewing or painful biting
- Loose or wobbly implants
- Food wedging between the teeth that won’t come free with brushing
Prompt treatment for any of these concerns will prevent infection and ensure your ongoing comfort. Contact Innovative Implants & Oral Surgery if you have any questions about our dental implant procedure or aftercare recommendations in Newtown and Feasterville, Pennsylvania. No question is too big or too small for the experienced staff in our Bucks County offices, where we’ve served for more than 40 years.