Follow Postoperative Instructions
Proper care during the recovery period is crucial for the long-term health of your dental implants. We recommend closely following all postoperative instructions of the dental surgeon with whom we facilitate your implant services.
If you have questions about your instructions, please contact us for clarification, and we will coordinate with the dental surgeon to ensure you have the necessary guidance.
Be Vigilant for Problems
Dental implant problems are uncommon, but if they do occur, many of them are correctable if detected early. So you should keep an eye on your dental implants for signs of trouble, including:
- Swelling around the implant
- Bleeding around the implant
- Discomfort around the implant
- Loose implant
- Changes in bite
Swelling, bleeding, and discomfort around the implant could be symptoms of peri-implantitis, the form of gum disease that affects dental implants. These can lead to implant loss, but when detected early, they might only require changes in your hygiene to reverse.
A loose implant could be a sign that peri-implantitis is attacking the bone around the implant. However, it might also be something as simple as a loose abutment screw. Don’t panic if you notice a loose implant suddenly one day, but haven’t seen any other symptoms.
Similarly, changes in your bite might be a sign of problems with the dental implant, but might also be a sign of minor issues with your abutment and/or crown.
If you notice these or other changes in your dental implants, please contact your implant dentist to see if you need an appointment.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Dental implants don’t get cavities, but they are vulnerable to gum disease, as we said above. To prevent gum disease, it’s important to clean your teeth thoroughly.
Brush your teeth twice a day. Ask your implant dentist if there are any toothpaste restrictions related to your implant restorations.
Floss your teeth daily. Cleaning around your implant might take some practice to master. Sometimes people find that they can’t clean their implant properly with dental floss. They need a different tool to get their implant clean. Interdental brushes and water flossers are popular choices.
Some types of implant dentures might benefit from additional cleaning: rinsing after eating, nightly soaking, etc. Your implant dentist will let you know if this is right for your restoration.
Smoking is one lifestyle choice that can make a dramatic impact on your dental implants. Smokers are more likely to lose their dental implants than non-smokers. At a minimum, it’s best to quit smoking for several weeks before your implant procedure and not start again until your implants are fully healed (3-6 months after surgery). However, it’s best if you can quit smoking altogether.
Wear a Mouthguard to Protect Implants
Dental implants are stronger than natural teeth, but they’re not invulnerable to damage. If a dental implant gets struck, it can break the dental crown, the abutment, or even the implant itself. It can also break the bone around the implant, knocking it out.
To reduce risks to your implant, wear a mouthguard when playing in sports. This includes non-contact and recreational sports. Cycling, for example, is responsible for many dental injuries.
Eat to Support Implant Health
Your dental implants depend on your bones for support. Eating a healthy diet can help your bones stay strong for your implants. Make sure your diet includes nutrition that supports healthy bones. This means making sure your diet includes enough:
- Vitamins B6, B9, and B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
Talk to your doctor about the best sources of these nutrients for your diet. Ask them if you will benefit from taking supplements.
Also, try to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase your risk of implant loss.
Pay Attention to Medications
Medications can impact your dental implants. It’s important to be aware of specific medications that can impact your dental implants, including:
- Osteoporosis medications
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Osteoporosis medications affect the way your bones heal. Some evidence suggests that they might cause complications with dental implants. However, this mostly seems associated with very specific prescriptions, so ask your doctor whether there’s a concern about your medication.
Some antidepressants can also increase your dental implant risk. Talk to your dentist about what medications are a concern. If you’re taking one, see if your doctor might facilitate a transition to a different type.
NSAIDs can impact your dental implants, including the popular over-the-counter pain medications ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Try to limit the use of these during the recovery period with dental implants.
Also, pay attention to specific side effects of all your medications. For example, dry mouth is a very common side effect that affects oral health, including dental implants.
Make Regular Dental Appointments
It’s also important to make regular dental appointments to check on the health of your dental implants. For most people, you will simply keep up the same twice-a-year appointment schedule after getting dental implants that you had before.
For people with high-risk factors (smokers, history of gum disease, etc.), your implant dentist might recommend more frequent dental visits, perhaps three or four a year.
Get Dental Implants in Detroit
As you can see, caring for dental implants is easy for most people. Most of these instructions apply just as well to natural teeth, so you might not have to make any changes to your daily routine.
To learn more about obtaining long-lasting, functional, and attractive dental implants through our facilitation services, pleasecontact Rochester Advanced Dentistry for a consultation.