Advice to help our Woking patients maintain healthy and long lasting tooth replacements.
Dental implants are becoming widely known and more people are turning to them when they have lost teeth, rather than opting for more traditional dentures. There are many reasons for this; one being the strength and stability that implants offer, along with the fact that they can last for twenty years or more providing that they are looked after correctly.
This is an important aspect of dental implant placement. Although the procedure itself is a complex one that requires specific dental skills to carry out, much of the success is down to how the patient takes care of their implants, especially (but not exclusively) in the period shortly after the procedure.
In today’s Synergy Parkside dental practice blog, we are going to take a look at the various stages of teeth implant aftercare.
As you would expect after any invasive procedure such as this, there will be some soreness and discomfort in the area where the implant has been placed. This should be manageable through the use of your regular painkillers and should only last a short time. If you feel that any discomfort persists too long or becomes too severe, you should contact our Woking dentists as soon as possible for further advice. In the vast majority of cases, recovery is relatively straightforward, but care at this stage is very important, as it is for the duration of the osseointegration period where the implant and the bone in which it has been placed, fuse together.
Naturally, the implant is at its most vulnerable at this stage and care should be taken not to put any pressure on the new implant. This includes not touching it or poking it with your finger and not eating hard foods. In fact, for a short period, we advise liquid foods only, building up to softer, semi-solid foods such as mashed potato. Over time, you will be able to re-introduce harder foods back into your diet.
Cleaning is essential at this stage as well but you won’t be able to brush the implant with a toothbrush, and care should be taken not to ‘catch’ it when you are brushing the teeth around it. We will provide full cleaning instructions when you have your treatment, but generally, cleaning an implant means tipping, and not swilling aggressively, a warm saline solution over the area to prevent infection.
Especially at this stage, care should be taken not to do any physical activity that may have a ‘jarring’ effect. This includes activities such as jogging or jumping around, e.g. tennis or squash. It should go without saying that any contact sports should be avoided as well.
As the bone and implant gradually fuse, your new replacement tooth will start to become more secure. It is still important at this stage though, not to do anything that would jeopardise it. By this stage you will probably be eating solid but softer foods such as mashed potato, soft cooked pasta with sauce etc. Life will start to feel a little more normal again but we ask you not to be impatient and, however tempting it may be, you should not introduce harder foods just yet. We understand that it can be frustrating, but this is a very short period in the lifespan of your dental implants but one that is critical for their long term success.
You may be starting to exercise again more at this stage. We still advise against contact sports but others such as on road cycling and swimming are suitable to help you maintain a decent level of fitness. If you have a need to train at more intensive levels for competition, please speak to us so that we can help you to plan a way back to this.
Gentle brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush may also be introduced as the implant becomes more established. We will be monitoring your implant on an ongoing basis and will advise when this can be introduced.
Long term implant health
Once your implant has completed the osseointegration process and your dentist is happy with it, they will add a crown to complete the tooth. From this point on, you can consider your dental implant in the same way that you would a natural tooth.
Although you will be able to eat normally at this stage, we advise you to do so with care. This isn’t because your implant will struggle with harder foods, quite the opposite in fact. You should though, remember that you have had a tooth missing for some time and it will take a little time to adjust to eating with a new tooth in place of the gap. This shouldn’t take long but you may find it easier to make this adjustment slowly.
Do make sure to remember too that although both implant and crown are made from artificial materials that can’t decay, you could still suffer from implant problems, including possible failure, if you don’t maintain good gum health. Allowing gum disease to develop means that both periodontitis and peri-implantitis present real threats to the health of your new implant.
Make sure that you keep your gums healthy by brushing your gums as well as your teeth and use floss to clean between and around them. You should also have a regular professional clean provided by our hygienist every six months.
Looking after a tooth implant isn’t hard and simply requires a little patience followed by a good cleaning regime with regular monitoring through check ups at our Woking dental practice.
If you would like to find out more about implants or to see if you are a suitable candidate to receive one, please call Synergy Parkside on 01483 766355.