Congratulations on getting your new dental implants! As most dentists will tell you, the worst part is over once you're done with the tooth extraction and the dental implant installation. However, this is not an excuse to slack off and neglect your oral hygiene. In fact, your recovery rate depends heavily upon what you do during the next few weeks after you get your dental implant treatment.
If you want to make sure your dental implants work better than your natural teeth, you have to take proper care of your implants, as well as your body. Here is a checklist you can use throughout your recovery period to make sure the healing process is free from complications and delays.
Things to Do After You Get Your Implants
What you do during the first 24-48 hours after you get your dental implants is extremely important, and can affect the success rate of your procedure.
Go straight home
Most people think that since dental implant surgery is done on an outpatient basis, it is not a big deal. However, dental implant installation is still a minor surgery, and what do patients do after surgery? They are on strict bed rest for a certain amount of time.
It's common to see people who faint or grow weak after tooth extraction and getting dental implants can have the same side effects. In fact, we require that you have someone else to drive you home after getting your dental implant treatment. Upon arriving home, make sure to rest in bed with your head elevated slightly. Don't move around too much and avoid strenuous exercise after your procedure.
Bleeding and pain control
It is normal to experience bleeding after surgery. If the metallic taste in your mouth is bothering you, you can bite down on the cotton sponges in your mouth to control bleeding. You can also hold an ice pack against your cheek to control bleeding and minimize pain. Also, do not rinse your mouth during the first 48 hours after your procedure, as it will simply encourage more bleeding.
Your dentist will prescribe pain medication for you to take after the procedure. Usually, the dentist will recommend that you stop taking the pain medication once the pain is manageable or tolerable. Don't self-medicate even if it's just over-the-counter pain medication, and never take more than the recommended amount.
Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to reduce swelling and prevent infections. Make sure to follow the dentist's treatment plan diligently. For example, if you are supposed to take antibiotics 3 times a day for a week, make sure to finish your course of treatment, even if you already feel okay after a couple of days.
Dealing with discomfort
Does it feel like your dental implants are not aligned properly? If you feel like something is amiss, resist adjusting the implants on your own. Do not touch, prod, or poke your dental implants in an effort to find a more comfortable position. If your implants need adjusting, see your dentist about it immediately.
Oral Hygiene After Dental Implant Treatment
While going through the initial healing period, you still need to observe proper oral care practices, with a few adjustments to fit your condition.
Changing your toothbrush
If you were using brushes with hard bristles before your procedure, you might need to purchase a new toothbrush. According to experts, soft-bristled toothbrushes are just as effective as hard-bristled brushes when it comes to keeping your teeth clean and free from plaque.
Although bleeding is common during the first few days after the procedure, you shouldn't aggravate your gums and teeth more by using hard-bristled brushes. Soft nylon toothbrushes are known to get the job done without harming the teeth. You may also use a Proxabrush or interdental brush to get into hard-to-reach areas as food particles tend to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your implants like dental crowns and dental bridges.
Patients usually ask if they can floss after their procedure. Don't floss for the first few days after your procedure, but start flossing twice a day once your gums stop being too sensitive. A lot of people are worried that they might wriggle their dental implants loose while flossing; however, there are dental floss marketed specifically to people with implants. Flossing is a great way to remove food particles that are stuck on your implants.
Mouthwash is not that necessary. In fact, you can get away with rinsing your mouth with water for the first few days after the procedure. If you insist on using mouthwash, look for one that is alcohol-free. Alcohol may irritate your sensitive gums.
Stick to non-abrasive toothpaste after the treatment. Toothpaste with tiny beads or salt may cause more pain or discomfort because your gums are still sensitive after the procedure.
Other Dental Tools
If you have a water flosser or oral irrigator, you can use it before you brush your teeth to clean areas that are hard to reach. You can use these tools over dental floss as water flossers are better for sensitive gums.
Healthy Post-Procedure Diet
Because your teeth play a huge part in how you chew and eat your food, you might wonder how you can manage your meal times while you are recovering from your procedure. Here are a few food suggestions that will help you give your teeth the rest it needs.
During the first few days after your procedure, stick to soft foods that don't need a lot of chewing, like soup or broth mixed with very small particles of solid food that you can swallow without chewing.
Avoid cold or hot food and drinks like hot coffee. Your gums are sensitive right now, and any food or drinks with extreme temperatures can cause discomfort or pain.
Stay away from hard foods. While this may seem obvious, a lot of people can't resist popping candy into their mouths or ordering a pizza for dinner. Recovery time for dental implant treatment can last for as long as 6 months, and admittedly, some people have a hard time sticking to a strict diet for such a long time.
Sticky foods can get stuck in the corners of your teeth. Snacking on some dried fruit, for example, may not be as taxing on your teeth as hard candies, but it is quite difficult to remove if it gets stuck deep in the corners of your implants.
Necessary Lifestyle Changes
Once you have teeth implants, you may need to change the way you live as a whole. To determine what you need to change about your current lifestyle, ask yourself this question: Why did you need dental implant surgery in the first place?
If it is because of poor oral health, it's an indication that you need better dental practices. If you are the type of person who does not brush and floss religiously, you might find it difficult to change your routine. Start by setting the alarm on your phone to remind you to brush and floss your teeth. It also helps if you place your toothbrush and floss in highly visible areas such as beside your kitchen or bathroom sink.
If your teeth are weak for some unknown reason, you may have an underlying medical condition that causes your teeth to be brittle and sensitive. Osteoporosis, calcium deficiency, and enamel hypoplasia are just some of the common suspects behind weak teeth. Consider getting your teeth checked so you can receive proper medical treatment.
Smoking and drinking should also be avoided. Smoking and drinking alcohol can hinder the healing process and can cause teeth discoloration. Remember that getting implants tends to take a lot out of a person, so you need to be your best healthy self after the procedure. Smoking and drinking alcohol are bad for your health, and you may end up experiencing more post-procedure side effects because of your weakened state.
Getting Professional Dental Care
After your procedure, your dentist will schedule a series of post-procedure dental visits to check on your progress. Some people skip these visits if they don't experience any negative side effects. However, it is important to stick to your scheduled dentist appointments, regardless of how you feel. Not all problems and mishaps present themselves through pain or discomfort.
Even after you've fully recovered, you should continue seeking professional dental care at least twice a year. Professional teeth cleaning and regular dental checkups can prevent implant problems and save your currently healthy teeth from suffering the same fate.
When Should You Call a Doctor?
Most aches and pains that a person experiences during the healing process can wait until the next dentist appointment; however, some instances require immediate medical attention.
Seek medical attention if you experience the following:
You feel a throbbing pain in the affected area, accompanied by swelling and a fever
Your gum tissue is red and receding at a quick pace
Loose implants are indicative of implant failure and must be fixed immediately
If you experience unusual tooth pain, tingling, or prolonged numbness, it could be a sign of nerve damage.
Prolonged or increase in bleeding is usually indicative of bone loss
Sores appear on your mouth or rashes or hives erupt on your skin. These are the usual signs of an allergic reaction to titanium, which most implants are made of.
Minor bleeding, swelling, and pain are expected after getting your dental implants; however, these problems should slowly go away in time. So if you feel like you've been experiencing these side effects for far too long, don't hesitate to tell your dentist about it. Some people shrug it off, thinking it's not a big deal, only to find themselves with serious conditions several years down the line.
Implants look and feel like our natural teeth, which is why we should still care for them as if they were irreplaceable. Proper implant care not only speeds up the healing time but also minimizes the risk of you requiring more dental implant surgery in the future.
Our Experienced Implant Team in NYC
A healthy smile is always a sign of a successful, accomplished person. And while dental implants can do a lot for your self-esteem and confidence, you also need to feel safe and protected during a dental implant procedure or even after it was completed.
This is why our team at Park 40, New York's premier dental implant center is the best you will find out there. You are getting the best, state-of-the-art technology out there and the experience you need from a professional team. We also have a friendly, safe environment, so it will be a real pleasure visiting us every time you need an appointment.
Contact us today to book an appointment; your smile is your top asset, so let us help you achieve the best one.