How To Best Care for Your Newly Placed Dental Implant

Dental implant aftercare guide

Trouble-Free Healing After Dental Implant Surgery

The process of getting a dental implant is both an exciting and overwhelming experience. You’ll receive a beautiful dental restoration to replace your missing tooth, but you’ll also undergo oral surgery. Many patients find that the surgery itself is a breeze, thanks to a gentle and skilled dentist. The recovery period is when worries tend to arise.

We’re happy to say that dental implant surgery is extremely successful. In fact, the success rate is a whopping 98%! This means that the average patient heals perfectly after surgery and aftercare is generally a fairly easy process. By keeping the basics in mind and following any directions given by your dentist, you’ll reduce your risk of complications and heal quickly.

First and foremost, follow your dentist’s instructions.

The internet is a wonderful source of information on dental implant aftercare, but you should follow any guidelines given by your dentist first. While we often give the same aftercare guide to every dental implant patient, your dentist may also include special instructions to accommodate your health needs.

Remember to:

  • Read your aftercare instructions thoroughly and ask for clarification if you have any questions.
  • Follow any medication guidelines given by your dentist, including prescriptions or over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.
  • Review your dietary restrictions and stay on a soft-food diet for the recommended time, even if you feel like you’re ready to chew.

Keep your mouth clean and free from food debris.

Complications during the healing process are rare, but if they do occur it’s often from a gum infection caused by poor oral hygiene. This localized infection is characterized by inflammation and infection in the gums around the dental implant site. 

Remember, you’ve just had oral surgery, so not only is your mouth healing but your body is also under minor stress as your immune system responds. This makes good dental hygiene even more important than usual.

Remember to:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once a day, including before bed on surgery day.
  • Avoid directly brushing the surgical site for the first few days, but do gently clean the teeth and gum tissue around it.
  • Avoid alcohol-based mouthwash during the healing process.
  • Keep your mouth clean by gently rinsing with warm salt water, especially after meals, to loosen food debris.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash as directed by your dentist if you were given one.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dry mouth and help keep teeth clean.

Brushing and flossing are much easier if you have tools that allow for more precise and thorough cleaning. Two wonderful upgrades are an electric toothbrush with a small, round head and a water flosser. These will continue to help you get a thorough clean even after your implant has healed completely.

Continue seeing your dentist for checkups and cleanings.

You’ll generally have a couple of follow-up appointments, and your biannual preventive care appointments may also fall within the healing period. Make sure you don’t miss either ones.

Your follow-ups and preventive checkups give your dentist a chance to catch any early signs of trouble—not just with your new dental implant but also with your overall oral health. Professional cleanings also remove plaque buildup that could otherwise cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Remember to:

  • Keep your recommended appointment schedule and reschedule right away if you do need to change a date.
  • Book an evaluation if you feel something is wrong with your dental implant or any of your other teeth.

Eat nutritious food and maintain healthy habits.

A soft-food diet can be tough, especially for foodies who really love to eat. However, it’s important to stick with your dentist’s recommendation because eating hard, chewy, or crunchy foods too soon can be painful or damage your dental implant.

Focus your diet on safe foods that are also healthy. If you don’t already take a multivitamin, this would be a great time to start, especially if you’re having a hard time finding meal options you enjoy. We also recommend looking at meal-replacement shakes that are designed for complete nutrition.

You want to keep your body healthy aside from eating well. It can take a week or more before you feel ready for the gym, but after the first two or three days, you should feel well enough to go on a walk or do a light yoga session. Another way to care for your body is to avoid smoking, alcohol, and other tobacco use. These can irritate your dental implant and lower your immune system. 

Remember to:

  • Take it easy for the first few days and listen to what your body is saying.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise for at least five days (longer if you feel tired or sore).
  • Base main meals around soft, nutritious foods and take a multivitamin.
  • Keep an eye on sugar intake, especially hidden sugar in yogurt and fruity drinks.
  • Avoid all tobacco and alcohol.

Have questions about dental implant aftercare?

If you have any questions or concerns or need help with your dental implant, the Valley Dental Clinic team is always ready to assist. You can get in touch by calling our Wasilla, Alaska, office or using our convenient online form.