Dental implants are a great solution for damaged or missing teeth. Not only do they restore the complete functioning of the mouth, they also look incredible natural – helping patients to feel like they can smile happily again.
Just like any other dental surgery, it’s important to look after dental implants once they have been put in place. Following the right methods for cleaning and ensuring you don’t eat or drink the wrong things will ensure your new teeth replacements look and feel great for years to come.
Similarly, by knowing what to expect after your initial surgery will prepare you to understand what’s normal, and when you might need to call your dentist.
Here is everything you need to know about looking after your dental implants, including what to do the first hour after your surgery, through to cleaning and care, activities and what you’re allowed to eat.
The First Hour
After you leave the dentist, your new dental implants will be fitted with gauze pads. Bite down on these gently to ensure they remain in place. You can take them out after 60 minutes. If there’s excess bleeding after this, apply another layer of gauze and repeat every 30 minutes until it stops.
It’s common for your mouth to bleed after surgery for up to 24-48 hours. This usually includes a small bit of blood and mainly a lot of saliva. Keep gauze pads nearby and bite down on them until bleeding subsides. Swelling is also common – if it becomes an issue, use an ice pack next to the cheek until it goes down.
Keep your mouth clean after surgery by rinsing your mouth regularly. Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt in 200mls of water and use it slowly to swirl around your mouth. Do this 2-3 times daily for the first three days.
Continue your brushing and flossing routine as normal, taking care to be gentle around the implants. It may be a little painful, but keeping the implant area clean will speed up the healing process.
Eating And Drinking
For the first day you don’t consume any hot food or drink. Try to avoid too much liquid or food around the implant area for this time, including touching it with your tongue. It’s also important not to consume food of any type until the anaesthetic has worn off.
It’s a good idea to start with liquids and puree foods such as soups, yoghurt and drinks. Try to avoid food like nuts, seeds and popcorn in case it gets wedged in the implant area. Progress to solid foods slowly, taking care to eat during every meal time to restore strength and promote faster healing.
Exercise And Activities
Plenty of rest is needed for 24 hours, and you should stick to the bed or couch. Take care when changing from standing to lying down, and do so slowly to avoid feeling light-headed. Doing more than this could result in bleeding, swelling in the area and an increase in pain.
Exercise should be avoided for at least 3 or 4 days after your surgery. When you start back again, be careful to begin slowly.
Managing The Pain
Dental surgery can be uncomfortable, which is why you will usually receive a prescription to help keep you feeling calm and at ease after the procedure. Follow the instructions closely and if you feel some nausea, try taking pills around meal time.
The most severe levels of pain usually come in the first six hours after surgery. After this, the anaesthetic will wear off. Make sure you keep up the intervals of medication to avoid discomfort. If the pain is excessive, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist.
Other Things To Look Out For
- Discolouration: Bruising under your tissue can cause green, blue or even yellow discolouring. This is completely normal and can pop up after 3 days.
- Sharpness in the mouth: You may feel some rough edges in your mouth after surgery. These are the bone walls that used to hold your teeth. Small bits of bone can also slide out from the area, but it’s nothing to worry about.
- Lip dryness: it’s common after dental surgery to get dry lips. Use Vaseline or a lip gloss to keep them moist if this happens.
- Sore throat: This can happen due to swollen muscles, but should relax after a few days.
You should start to feel better after three or four days from the dental implant surgery. Once your energy and appetite are restored, you can begin slowly increasing the amount of activity you do and relaxing on the foods you eat. Just be mindful for at least a week or two after of the impacted area.
All there is left to do now is enjoy your new teeth and your new smile!
If you have any questions about caring for dental implants, contact us today.