Dental implant surgery can be a daunting procedure, but is a highly effective method to replace missing, diseased, or damaged teeth. You may feel deep relief now that the surgery is done, but remember that the recovery process afterward is just as important as the procedure itself. Read on to learn what steps to take, as well as what to avoid, to protect your implants during the healing process.
Although dental implants are stronger than your natural teeth, they are not entirely impervious to harm. It is important that you know best practices so that you can heal and avoid damaging your new teeth. Some things you should do include:
- DO rest after the procedure. Oral surgery will require that you give yourself appropriate time to rest and recover for proper healing.
- DO get help from friends or family if possible.
- DO follow the care instructions provided by your dentist. There may be a specific oral hygiene routine to follow while the implant site heals.
- DO carefully brush your teeth twice a day. Be gentle with your gums and the new implant. Your dentist can recommend an appropriate toothpaste based on their care regiment.
- DO eat soft, vitamin-rich foods like soups, cooked veggies, mashed potatoes, or yogurt. Try to avoid foods that can raise your blood pressure or cholesterol to avoid further bleeding and swelling.
- DO rinse your mouth with warm salt water to remove any food particles that may remain in your mouth.
- DO take pain medication as prescribed. You may experience mild discomfort or swelling after the procedure, so be sure to follow the dentist’s directions for pain relief.
- DO schedule your next cleaning appointment. Your dentist may want to schedule one or more follow-up appointments after your surgery. Ongoing regular dental visits will also be important for maintenance, cleaning, and care.
As with any procedure, there are specific activities you can avoid to ensure that you heal properly. They include:
- DON’T exercise strenuously. Avoid intense activities like running and lifting weights. Any strain on your body can impact your healing.
- DON’T use a “whitening” or “brightening” toothpaste. Stain-removing toothpastes might be too abrasive or damage your new teeth.
- DON’T bite, chew on, or eat anything that could damage your implants. Do not use your teeth to open packages, bottles, cans, etc.
- DON’T use straws immediately following surgery.
- DON’T drink alcohol or eat overly sugary foods that can complicate your recovery.
- DON’T smoke. Smoking can greatly increase the likelihood of implant failure.
What if Something Goes Wrong?
If you experience complications, reach out to your dentist right away. Though unlikely, complications might include:
- Persistent swelling or redness at the site of the dental implant.
- Difficulty or pain with chewing and biting.
- Loose implants.
- Food that wedges between your teeth that cannot be removed with gentle brushing or rinsing.
By knowing what steps to take, what to avoid, and when to call your dentist, you greatly increase your ability to heal after oral surgery and protect your new dental implants.
About the Author
Dr. Jamie Guthrie has been working at her own private practice for over 15 years. She is a life-long learner who pursues continuing educational opportunities in a variety of significant dental topics to provide her patients with the best care. If you have damaged teeth and are considering dental implants, you can reach Dr. Guthrie’s practice via their website, or call (580) 224-9600.