If you’ve lost a tooth, your dentist might recommend a dental implant. In addition to boasting the appearance of a natural tooth, an implant also functions like a natural tooth. It’s a long-term solution to tooth loss and even helps preserve the health and structure of your jawbone by acting as an artificial tooth root. But do you know how to take care of a dental implant?
How to Take Care of a Dental Implant
Follow your dental team’s recommendations.
Right after your dental implant surgery, you will need to follow some basic rules to help your gums heal properly. Follow any instructions provided by your dental team. Typically, for the first couple of days, you will need to do the following:
- Take prescribed medications as directed.
- Take Tylenol if you have a fever.
- Don’t rinse your mouth.
- Avoid drinking from a straw.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water every few hours.
- Avoid strenuous activity.
- Keep your head elevated.
Finally, call your dentist’s office if you have any questions or concerns.
Eat carefully for a few months.
Immediately following the surgery, you will need to eat soft foods like soup, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs. After that, your menu can expand, but you won’t be able to eat everything right away.
One of the best things about dental implants is that they fuse with the bone in three to four months. This creates a strong, stable anchor for the artificial tooth, which is also known as a pontic. Once the dental implant is fully fused, you can treat it like your natural teeth. But in the meantime, it’s important to avoid hard, crunchy, and sticky foods like the following:
- Hard candy
- Crunchy raw vegetables and fruits
In addition, avoid spicy foods as they could irritate your surgical site, making it uncomfortable or even painful. Wait until your mouth has healed to enjoy those chicken wings smothered in hot sauce!
Fortunately, after a few months, you will be able to eat whatever you like! Your dental implant will be securely anchored to your jawbone, so you will be able to eat all of your favorite foods without worry. Beef jerky, Laffy Taffy, corn on the cob, whatever you like!
Reduce swelling with an ice pack and heating pad.
Swelling should be expected after oral surgery. Typically, it’s most noticeable two days after your implant is put into place, and it may last up to six days. Sometimes your face and neck may become swollen as well. To minimize inflammation and discomfort, apply an ice pack for 15 minutes, then remove it for 15 minutes, and repeat until you go to sleep. In the days that follow, switch to a heating pad or hot water bottle. While this won’t completely eliminate swelling, it should make it less noticeable.
Brush and floss as you normally would.
Once your dental implant has healed, you should take care of it like you would any other tooth! Brush it twice a day, floss once a day, and schedule regular appointments with your dentists to keep it in excellent condition.
If a dental implant lies in your future, check out these blog posts to learn more about implants:
- Benefits of Dental Implants
- What Happens During the Dental Implant Process?
- Are Dental Implants Painful?
- What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
Are you missing a tooth? If you would like to replace it with a dental implant or bridge and you live in Springfield, Missouri, please contact Wilkinson Dental today. You can request an appointment online or give us a call at 417-882-8222. We would be happy to help!