Looking After Your New Dental Implant
Dental implants can last for a very long time, but require appropriate aftercare
We have discussed the pros and cons of dental implants, and the treatment process in previous Blue Sky Dental Blogs. Let us presume then that you have decided to go ahead and have chosen them as your preferred option to replace a missing tooth. Your treatment has been carried out and you are now back home with your new replacement tooth. What should you do from this point on?
What you shouldn’t do, of course, is presume that now you have your new implant, there is no need to take care of it. Although made from artificial materials and therefore unable to decay, there are still serious problems that lie ahead if you don’t look after your new tooth implant. Some of these, such as periodontitis or peri-implantitis may even result in its loss. Any patients of our Chelmsford dental practice then who have had an implant placed, should heed the following advice along with the personalised instructions we will provide for you.
Aftercare immediately following placement
At this stage, your new implant is particularly vulnerable and you will need to take good care to look after it whilst the implant bonds with the bone into which it has been placed. There will most likely also be some initial discomfort and sensitivity around the treatment area, so it pays to go easy on your new implant for a while. The most obvious thing to state here is not to use your implant to eat anything that would mean putting any force on the replacement tooth. Liquid food such as soup is recommended for a short period so that this doesn’t happen. You will also need to keep the area clean. This can’t be initially done using a toothbrush and you should ‘tip’ a warm, but not hot, saline solution around the area several times a day to keep the implant and surrounding gum tissue clean.
Short term aftercare
Once your new dental implant has settled, you will gradually be able to move away from a restricted diet and introduce soft foods into your diet. This could, for example, include mashed potatoes, well cooked pasta and soft vegetables. Always err on the side of caution though and don’t risk the health of your implant by putting too much stress on it too soon. Make sure to follow your dentist’s advice on this.
At this stage, you will need to start brushing around the implant. This should be done gently, using a soft toothbrush. As the implant becomes better integrated, you will be able to use a slightly firmer brush which will be more effective at removing plaque and food deposits from around the implant.
Long term dental implant aftercare
Having had a sophisticated procedure such as a tooth implant placement, it is often relatively easy to focus on its care for a while. Problems often occur later on though when the patient tends to lose focus on this and pays less attention to keeping it clean. Although an implant is at its most vulnerable soon after placement, there are still serious long term threats that can cause it to become loose or even fall out. You should therefore make sure that you continue to pay attention to keeping the implant clean. The good news is that this doesn’t involve anything that you shouldn’t already be doing with your natural teeth.
For both natural teeth and established dental implants, the following is basic, but essential, advice.
Brush twice a day, using a toothbrush with healthy bristles. Angle the brush so that it reaches below the gum line. Use a toothpaste that includes fluoride and spit but don’t rinse when you have brushed. Put nothing in your mouth but water following your night time brushing.
Use dental floss. This is important for cleaning the area between the teeth where toothbrush bristles often can’t reach. If you find this difficult to do, talk to one of your Chelmsford dentists who will show you how. It is quite easy once you have got used to it.
See a dental hygienist twice a year for a thorough cleaning, known as a ‘scale and polish’. This will help to remove hardened bacteria that regular brushing won’t. They may also offer advice on other ways that you can improve your oral health.
Keep regular six monthly dental appointments. This should be done anyway but it is always good to have the health of your implant checked from time to time. Providing that you are looking after it as above, your visits should be problem free.
There is no substitute for a healthy tooth implant when it comes to replacing a missing tooth. With good care, they can last you for a minimum of 20 years and often many more. If you would like to find out more about having an implant placed, or for general advice about them, please call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070.