We know that immediately post-surgery, taking care of your teeth is the last thing on your mind. But dental implant aftercare is vitally important for the success of your procedure. Of course, your specialist surgeon will be in close consultation with you before and after, to ensure you individualised expert advice. Nevertheless, there are a few things that you should do after your dental implant procedure.
Dental Implant Aftercare Tips – From The Experts In The Field
If you follow these steps carefully, and in conjunction with the advice of your specialist, your implant recovery should go off without a hitch! And remember, you can always get in touch with your specialist if you feel that anything is not right. However implant procedures are quite straightforward, so the risk of any complications is minimal. And with these dental implant aftercare tips form the experts, they are even lower!
1. Dental implants aftercare should begin immediately: avoid hot food and drink!
Now that your procedure is complete, you are straight into implant aftercare mode. Dental implant aftercare begins immediately after your procedure. One of the most important aspects of immediate dental implant aftercare is avoiding hot food or drinks. Try and stick to cold water for a while; your specialist will be able to tell you how long exactly. Hot food or drink can exacerbate the stress on your mouth tissue. The tissue around the site of your implants will need some time to heal, so it’s best to avoid disturbing it.
As well as avoiding hot food and drink, you should also avoid contact with the area. This includes running your tongue or fingers over the affected area. And, of course, you should avoid all solid foods at least until the local anaesthetic has worn off. Your best approach will be to sip cold water. Cold water will ease the swelling and some of the discomfort in your mouth for the first period of 24-48 hours. By sipping it, you will be able to reduce any disturbance to the surgical site even further.
2. You might experience some mild discomfort and swelling – treat it with icepacks and painkillers
So you’ve made it home and the procedure was a success. But your mouth seems to be swelling more and more. What do you do? Well, you shouldn’t panic. Swelling is a completely normal part of the implant procedure. What’s more, the swelling is likely to increase over the first two or three days. In fact, swelling around the mouth after an implant procedure is known to peak as many as three days after the surgery. All you need to worry about is relieving the pain and swelling.
When it comes to pain relief and swelling, the solutions are simple: ice and painkillers. Something as basic as a bag of frozen peas is an integral part of your dental implant aftercare kit. Ice packs will ease and reduce swelling, which will, in turn, limit the discomfort you experience. For the best and most comfortable recovery, start to take your painkillers before the numbness wears off completely. You will have scripted moderate strength pain relievers (analgesics) like paracetamol with codeine and Nurofen to keep you comfortable. Of course, if you have any questions ask your specialist.
3. In the first week after your procedure, use a warm saltwater mouthwash
Now that you have pain and swelling covered, you can turn your mind to the next and equally as important aspect of dental implant aftercare. Keeping your mouth clean and free from bacteria is crucial in your recovery and in oral hygiene overall. But what is the best approach to this? Well, fortunately, the best approach is also the simplest: saltwater. By mixing a few teaspoons of salt with a cupful of warm water, you can make a basic antiseptic solution. This will reduce bacterial activity in your mouth. As a result, the likelihood of complications will be drastically reduced.
Of course, you don’t want the water to be too hot. The best way to approach your saltwater mouthwash is by holding the salty water (saline solution) over the surgical site. Don’t swill it around your mouth too aggressively. When you hold the water over the implant, you don’t want it to scald you. So make sure that the water is warm, but not too hot.
4. Brushing your teeth is still important! But don’t brush them straight away
No doubt your dentist has told you that good tooth brushing is the key to dental health. And that is completely true. So to prepare yourself for your implant procedure, you should brush prudently in the lead-up. What about after the procedure? After the dental implant procedure, your wounds around the implants are likely to be too sensitive for regular brushing. Our specialists recommend the use of a small headed toothbrush with super soft and flexible bristles. Brushing around your remaining teeth should be continued as normal, beginning on the same night as your procedure.
In general, waiting a few days before brushing around the dental implant site is fine. The precise length of your waiting period will depend on how the implant is feeling, and how well the recovery is going. The same applies to flossing. Flossing is an important part of your dental care routine, and you should floss daily. Of course, your new dental implant should be allowed to settle before you floss around it. But your other teeth should be good to go. Your specialist will be able to give you some more specific advice in this regard – so don’t be afraid to ask.
5. You can try a few different more solid foods once you are more comfortable; our specialists usually advise waiting for 3-4 days after the procedure; be sure to rinse your mouth after each meal to limit soiling the wounds with food
As you could probably imagine, eating solid foods will be challenging for a while after your procedure. That is why we recommend avoiding solid foods during your early recovery. Your specialist will provide you with some more advice on this subject. Generally, though, you will be free to eat increasingly solid foods once the swelling and discomfort begin to subside. However, there’s a catch! After each meal, you will have to clean your mouth very stringently. Food particles can cause problems for your new dental implant during the healing stages. So keep up the mouthwash after each meal. This will gently clear food from your mouth after your meals and ensure that your recovery is the best it can be!
For more useful dental implant aftercare tips, contact the experts at the Gold Coast Dental Implant & Specialist Centre today on (07) 5503 1744.