If you need to have a tooth removed or would like a more natural-looking, comfortable alternative to dentures, dental implants are an excellent option. For the best results, both after your procedure and for long-term satisfaction, knowing how to care for dental implants is essential. To help you, Dr. Hamby, a leading Fuquay Varina dentist, is sharing some guidance and guidelines.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a multi-part apparatus designed to replace natural teeth due to injury, decay, or other factors. A small titanium post is inserted into the jawbone to act as a root and an abutment, or a connector, is placed on top. Finally, the crown, a replacement tooth made of a resin compound, is placed on top of the abutment. A dental implant can be used for a single tooth or multiple posts and connectors can be placed to anchor several teeth. Also, two or four posts can be inserted and a denture can be installed on them, called “snap-on dentures” which are more secure and stable than ones that rest on the gums.
Caring for Dental Implants After the Procedure
After having the dental implants placed, proper post-procedure care is not only important to reduce the risk of complications, but it’s also necessary for the long-term success of the apparatus. While your dentist will provide you with more detailed, personalized instructions, generally, it’s important to be aware of the following:
- A bit of bleeding, soreness, and swelling is normal for a few days after the procedure. Intermittent ice packs and either ibuprofen or a prescribed pain reliever will aid in any discomfort.
- Choose softer foods and avoid hot foods as well as spicy foods for a few days.
- Don’t rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours. After this, use a warm salt water rinse, especially when you’re done eating.
- Brush with a soft-bristled brush and floss gently around the area.
- You may be required to clean the post with a cotton swab and cleaning solution.
- Avoid smoking for at least two weeks.
How to Care for Dental Implants for Long-Term Dental Health
The majority of people who get dental implants experience great success, finding them comfortable and natural-looking. However, the primary reason they may fail is due to improper care, especially after the healing process is complete.
Brushing Dental Implants
Even though a dental implant can’t develop a cavity, it can still become discolored and tartar can still build up along the gumline, harming tender gum tissue. Just like natural teeth, you’ll want to use a soft-bristled, nylon brush and a non-abrasive toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association and brush for about two minutes twice a day.
Flossing Dental Implants
Flossing is just as important to remove debris and keep debris from gathering under the crown and causing damage. To floss effectively, take the thread and wrap it around both index fingers, and slide it between the teeth, curving the floss into a “C” shape around the tooth. Then, draw the floss up and down against the side of the tooth a few times to effectively scrape away debris and plaque.
If you struggle to use traditional dental floss, consider using a water flosser instead. These work very well for dental implants, both individuals and those that support “snap-on dentures” by rinsing debris from under the tooth and in difficult-to-reach areas.
Keeping Up with Dental Checkups
One question we’re asked frequently regarding dental implants is if it’s still necessary to see a dentist. Even if you have a complete set of implants, your dentist can still provide a professional teeth cleaning to remove tartar. During your appointment, they will also screen for oral cancer and take x-rays to determine the health of your bone structure.
Schedule a Consultation for Dental Implants Today
If you are considering dental implants, schedule an appointment at Hamby Family Dental Center today. We will discuss your options and help you make the right decision for your dental health. To learn more, call us at 919-552-2431 or fill out the form below to request an appointment.