Dental implants are a long-term, durable solution for missing teeth. If cared for properly, dental implants can last just as long as normal healthy teeth.
To make sure you get the most out of your implant and that it heals successfully, we’ve put together the following advice.
Keeping your dental implant clean
For two weeks after having your implant fitted, you must rinse the area with antiseptic mouthwash (which your dentist can recommend to you) morning and night for one minute. You’ll also need to rinse your mouth with warm salt water after every meal.
Brushing your implant
It's critical that you don't brush your implant until you’ve had your stitches removed. After a few days, you can brush your teeth again gently, avoiding the implant site as best you can. After two weeks, and the removal of the stitches, you can brush the implant with antiseptic gel and a soft brush.
Eating with a dental implant
For the first week after having your implant fitted, you should only eat soft foods such as mashed potato or soup. You should also avoid anything that might get stuck in your teeth like seeds or popcorn. If these get into the implant site, it could cause an infection.
Once your implant has been fitted and has fully healed, your implants and replacement teeth should work the same as natural teeth. You’ll be able to eat all your favourite foods, just as you would with normal healthy teeth.
Pain after having a dental implant
It's likely you’ll have some pain, swelling and bruising after your implant surgery. This can be reduced with the help of over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. If you have pain which is more severe, is increasing, or does not ease after a few days, contact your dentist.
It's also possible that the area may bleed; this is nothing to worry about. If the bleeding cannot be stopped with light pressure, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Smoking and dental implants
If you smoke, your dentist will advise you give up before you have your implant fitted. Research has shown that the rate of implant failure is much higher for those who smoke than those who don’t.
Longer term oral health
Once your mouth has fully healed, it’s important to keep up good oral health to make sure you get the maximum lifespan out of your implant. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly.
You should also visit your hygienist frequently for scale and polish treatments. Your hygienist will also be able to see if any areas need more attention when brushing.
After you’ve had your implant fitted, your dentist will arrange review appointments to make sure that the bone and gum around the implant has healed correctly and that everything is comfortable for you. They will also check that you haven’t developed an infection.
If you have any concerns or if you think you might have an infection in the implant site, you should always contact your implant dentist as soon as you can.