Dental implants are durable and long-lasting appliances, but they do require some degree of care, both immediately after the implant procedure and on a continuing basis. Commonwealth Prosthodontics wants to provide you with what you should know about caring for your dental implants and maintaining your oral health.
Follow All Provided Instructions
One of the most important things you can do as a dental implant recipient is to follow the instructions provided by your Commonwealth Prosthodontics. The dentist, hygienist and other staff members are well-versed about what it takes to properly care for your implants, and they can provide a lot of wisdom and guidance.
Always adhere to the guidelines provided by your care team. If you don’t receive a written care sheet, ask for information in writing or references to trusted online information. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you aren’t sure about something, either; your dentist will welcome the question and is eager to assist.
Avoid Irritating Foods
Your dental implant will be a big factor in restoring your ability to eat without pain or frustration, but you should take it slow during the first few days after receiving the implant. Try to avoid eating foods that will irritate your implant or cause unnecessary pain.
Focus on eating soft, easily chewed food items that aren’t too hot. These foods include mashed potatoes, soups, ice cream, yogurt, bananas and other soft items. Avoid apples and other crunchy fruits, chips, candies, chewing gum, chewy meats and other foods that might put stress on the implant site.
Drink Plenty of Water
After receiving an implant, your gums and oral tissues will still be in a healing mode and could become easily dehydrated. Focus on drinking plenty of water to keep tissues well-hydrated.
Other liquids, such as tea and fruit juices, are also well-tolerated and will help provide needed moisture for your gums. However, avoid excessive amounts of sugary drinks and carbonated beverages. In addition, remember that hot beverages such as coffee can irritate sensitive nerves and create pain.
Eliminate or Restrict Alcohol and Tobacco Use
A short-term and long-term care consideration for dental implant recipients is to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and tobacco. Both of these substances are associated with implant problems and can cause failure of the implant in some circumstances.
For example, alcohol can leave sensitive tissues dehydrated. Alcohol has been shown to interfere with blood supply to your implant site and could delay healing. That’s why it is best to avoid all alcohol use for at least three days following the implant and then drink only in moderation and with the advice of your dentist.
Tobacco use is another potentially complicating factor when it comes to post-implant healing and long-term success. The chemicals in tobacco, including nicotine, interfere with healing and are associated with bone loss around the implant site. As a result, the bone could lose its “grip” on the implant base and cause its support to fail.
Be Meticulous with Daily Care
Even though you may no longer have a natural tooth where your implant lies, it is still vital to maintain a pattern of rigorous daily care. Neglect can lead to problems with your implant, up to and including failure of the implant.
Take time to select the right oral care “tools”. For example, always pick an extra soft or soft toothbrush to use with your implant, and also avoid abrasive toothpastes that contain gritty substances. The implant itself or its stainless steel base can be scratched by harsh substances or brushes with overly stiff bristles.
Keep flossing as part of your regular routine. Flossing is necessary to reduce the amount of biofilm that accumulates around the implant and that can lead to infection or other processes such as gingivitis.
Your dental implant is a lifetime investment, and proper care will keep it healthy. The more time and focus you invest in its care, the more satisfied you will be in its long-term performance. Commonwealth Prosthodontics wants you to have a lifetime of beautiful smiles with your new dental implants. If you have questions or concerns, or are ready to start the implant process, contact us at (804) 346-3366!