5 ways to keep your implant longerMarch 10, 2020 5:59 am
If you have had a tooth implant then you have already gone to considerable time, trouble and expense to make your smile look great. So, it makes sense to follow a few simple aftercare tips in order to make sure your implant stays in tip-top condition.
- What happens
The type of implant surgery you have depends on the damage that needs to be fixed. If you’ve had a bad infection and the underlying bone has been damaged, as well as the loss of a tooth, you may need a bone graft. Then, the surgeon will need to see you again to place the titanium implant in the jawbone. This is the major bit of surgery and this is when it’s really important to look after yourself as much as possible. Once this has healed, the follow-up appointments will fit a special cap, the permanent abutment, and an overlaying crown – which is the part that looks like your natural tooth. All in all, it takes between three to six months to complete the procedure and totally heal, if no bone graft is required. If your implant is very straightforward however, then the whole procedure could be done in one appointment.
Immediately after the surgery and through the whole process, there’s a few easy ways to give it the best chance of success:
- 1) Medication
Immediately after the implant fitting, you will feel pretty sore once the anaesthetic wears off. Your dentist will give you painkillers to take – these will also help with the swelling. When the implant is fitted, it’s hugely important that in the following months it fuses with the bone in your jaw. Without this, the implant won’t take and will have to be removed.
- 2) Eating and drinking
Avoid very hot or cold food and water as this can affect the natural blood clotting. Don’t use a straw to drink – though this sounds sensible, the alterations in pressure in your mouth can actually interrupt the blood clotting also. Your dentist will recommend having a liquid and soft food diet, for at least one day – though you will probably want to do this anyway, as the area can be tender! Yoghurt, smoothies and juices (with more veggie than fruit content if you can manage it) are all good options.
- 3) Bad habits
An implant is an invasive procedure, and the best means of success is by giving your body the opportunity to heal itself. To start, it’s a very bad idea to smoke. This affects your blood circulation and your body’s immune system. Next, your dentist will likely give you antibiotics as a preventative measure. It’s very important to take the whole course according to instructions, even if you feel fine.
- 4) Keeping it clean
Lastly, make sure your usual dental hygiene standard is up to scratch. It’s tempting to avoid brushing for fear of disturbing the stitches, but it’s really important to keep bad bacteria at bay while your mouth is in a more vulnerable state. Brush carefully and gently around the area, and you should be fine! Your dentist will also prescribe a special antibacterial mouthwash to use.
- 5) Long-term lifestyle tips
If you lost your original tooth through gum disease or another preventable cause, it’s likely your dentist has already given you a talking-to about dental hygiene. After undergoing an implant, it’s even more important to take the steps that keep tooth decay at bay. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss regularly. Keep a lookout for signs of early gum disease, like bleeding when you brush or floss. Make sure you visit your dentist every six months, so a professional eye can check for anything that needs to be treated. This is especially important if you have a medical condition that can have an impact on dental health, like diabetes or heart disease. Even if your tooth loss wasn’t due to decay, it makes sense to have the best dental routine you can. Prevention is definitely better than cure!
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