The success of your dental implant procedure depends on a two-part process. Good oral hygiene and an experienced implant dentist are key! At Madison Square Dentistry, we empower our dental implant patients with the resources they need to enjoy a predictable healing process and long-term oral health.
When it comes to caring for your dental implants, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Follow-up Visits During Dental Implant Integration
As you care for your dental implants, one vital step is to keep your dental implant maintenance visits. These will include follow-up exams and occasional X-rays to monitor each implant site and the bone around them. By regularly seeing our Murrieta implant dentist during your recovery process, we can help reduce complications and ensure a predictable outcome.
This important phase of “osseointegration” is where your jaw bone fuses with the surface of the implant. Implant failure is highest when the implant fails to integrate properly or there is active gum disease. Once full integration occurs, your new dental implants can support the fixed crown, bridge, or All-on-4 appliance you’ve chosen.
The integration phase can take about three months, give or take. Dr. Do may need to see you at our Murrieta office every several weeks to ensure things are healing properly. If we notice any early signs of gum disease, we will show you how to modify your oral hygiene routine to stop symptoms early.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
The #1 risk to dental implants is gum disease (i.e., periodontal disease, periodontitis.) By maintaining good overall oral health, you’ll preserve both your dental implants and any remaining natural teeth. It will also ensure a proper healing process after your implants are installed.
Your dental hygiene routine around dental implants includes proper brushing, using floss daily, and taking time to clean around each of your implants close to the gum tissues. This area is where plaque tends to be the heaviest, so you’ll want to pay extra attention.
Use a soft bristle toothbrush twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time. Angle the bristles toward your gumlines, making soft strokes on one or two teeth (or dental implants) at a time. This will remove plaque and stimulate the gums to keep them healthy. If there is any bleeding, be sure to let our Murrieta implant dentist know.
Second, be sure you’re flossing or using a water flosser around every implant (and tooth) daily. Flossing will not pull off permanent dental work, so don’t worry about using floss the same as you would chewing sticky foods or hard candy. This oral hygiene aid is essential for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and around the base of every implant tooth. Wrap the floss around each of your implants in a “C” shape (using a threader if needed) to clean along the gums and just under the edges of the gum tissues.
If you’re using a water flosser, trace it along the edges of your gumlines, then pause to go up and down between individual teeth or implants. Water flossers are exceptionally useful for cleaning food particles out from under fixed bridges or “All-on” types of implants.
NOTE: If you have a temporary appliance while you’re waiting for your permanent implant restoration, we will give you specific instructions on how to clean it. Be sure to follow these directions so that you do not accidentally pull off any temporary crowns or other dental work.
See Your Hygienist Regularly
Don’t forget to schedule regular visits to have your teeth (and dental implants) cleaned every six months. If you have a history of gum disease, you might want to see our dental hygiene team a little more frequently to prevent infection or bone loss.
During your checkup, we’ll review proper care techniques and any modified oral hygiene tips that might help you clean hard-to-reach places throughout your mouth.
Yes, dental implants can last a lifetime and aren’t “real teeth,” but you still need to avoid smoking, daily brushing and flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly to keep them properly integrated with the supporting bone. Too often, potential implant patients assume that getting implants is a “once and done” process for a new smile. But just like natural teeth, you’ll need to properly care for your mouth to make sure your investment lasts a lifetime!
How Long to Wait to Clean Implants After Surgery
The initial integration phase of dental implant treatment is slightly different when it comes to caring for your dental health. Depending on the extent of your implant treatment, Dr. Do will recommend a timeframe of several days or weeks for your modified oral health routine.
During this timeframe, you’ll need to:
- Avoid hard foods as your bone integrates. Soft foods are best.
- Use prescription oral rinse as directed, if prescribed. Take any other medications as directed by Dr. Do.
- Do not smoke and avoid drinking alcohol (excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the healing process.)
- Avoid hot liquids or crunchy foods like potato chips as your gums heal.
After a few months, you can start cleaning your dental implants the same way you would natural teeth. Just don’t use hard bristles or eat anything that you wouldn’t with your “real” teeth!
If you are experiencing an uncomfortable feeling, bleeding, or swollen gums around any of your dental implants, be sure to contact our office for an appointment.
Improve Your Overall Health and Wellness
Being invested in the success of your new smile will help ensure that your gums fully heal the way they’re supposed to and that each of your dental implants fully integrates with the bone responsible for supporting them.
When your new implants are fully healed, your new “teeth” allow you to eat all of your favorite foods again. Nutritious, nutrient-dense foods are no longer off limits. By incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables as well as proteins into your diet, you can improve your overall wellness and enjoy a wider selection of meals.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Are you looking to replace your missing teeth? Reserve a dental implant consultation with our dental implant team in Murrieta today. Dr. Do is happy to answer any questions that you have! Be sure to ask about our flexible payment options.