How to Care for Your Dental Implant

If you’re missing a tooth (or teeth), you have several different options for restoring them. Dentures, bridges, and implants are all popular choices, and each year about 500,000 people opt for a dental implant. Dental implants continue to grow in popularity because they are aesthetically pleasing, and they reduce your risk of jaw bone atrophy. Implants are also low-maintenance compared to traditional dentures.

If you’re considering a dental implant, the specialists at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Impact Surgery, are happy to discuss your unique needs. We are experienced in placing single dental implants as well as All-on-4s, in which full arches of teeth are supported by four implants.

Regardless of which type of implant you need or how many implants you need, you’re probably wondering what it’s like to care for your implants. In this guide, we’ll answer all of your questions.

Immediate care after your procedure

After you receive your dental implants, you’ll have to care for your mouth as you heal. You might experience a little tenderness and discomfort, but we’ll provide you with specific post-op instructions. In general, after-care instructions may include: 

To reduce the risk of dry socket, you’ll also need to avoid swishing or using a straw after your procedure.

Caring for your dental implants

Thanks to the titanium rod that fuses to your jaw bone in a process known as osseointegration, your new dental implant is strong and stable. However, it’s still important to care for your implant. It may be strong, but it’s not indestructible. For the best results, keep these tips in mind.

1.Create a solid at-home care routine

Just like with your natural teeth, you’ll need to continue to brush your teeth. Brushing your implant removes food debris and bacteria. 

A note about flossing: flossing is more important now than ever! Flossing removes plaque, bacteria, and food debris from in between your teeth, but it’s important to choose your tools carefully. Some studies show that flossing with the wrong type of floss (or flossing incorrectly) can lead to floss fragments left around your implant. 

Look for floss and flossing tools that are specifically designed for implants. For hard-to-reach areas, the American Dental Association recommends either a nylon-coated interdental cleaner or a water flosser. It may be tempting to use a metal pick, but this could scratch your crown or damage your gums. 

2. Don’t use your teeth as tools

Caring for your implant goes beyond hygiene. Using your teeth to open packages or bite your nails can damage your natural teeth and your implant. In addition, avoid eating non-food items like ice cubes or chewing on pen caps.

3. Give yourself time to heal

After you receive your implant, your bone still needs to heal. This process can take several months. During this time, it’s best to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol, as both of these can delay or impede healing. Even after your bones have healed, it’s important to avoid smoking, as this can have a negative impact on your oral health.

If you want to replace your missing teeth — but don’t want dentures — then it’s time to consider implants. To learn more, call our Burke, Reston, or Alexandria offices today. You can also request an appointment online

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