Dental Implant Success: The Do’s and Don’ts of Recovery
The process of dental implants can seem daunting simply because of the use of the term “oral surgery”, but with proper aftercare, you’ll be enjoying a beautifully restored smile in no time. The key is to follow a simple do’s and don’ts checklist set by your dentist and make sure to maintain good oral hygiene habits at-home in addition to your follow-up checkups. Just remember, proper healing is just as important as the procedure itself, and it can determine the success of your dental implants.
1. Rest up
Dental implant treatment is oral surgery, and just like any surgical treatment, you will need to get lots of rest for your body to heal. Even though dental implant treatment is considered an outpatient procedure — you will still need to lie down and rest, and honestly, you wouldn’t want to do anything else anyway. Make sure to clear the rest of your day and keep your head propped up with pillows to maintain blood circulation. This reduces painful swelling and excessive bleeding.
2. Keep it cool and medicate
Some swelling is normal and expected after your oral surgery, but it’s nothing a little ice can’t fix. Try icing your face for a half-hour at a time for about 18 hours after your surgery to reduce swelling. Make sure to take your prescribed medication at the time your doctor tells you. Still, feeling a bit numb and loopy from the anesthetic? Not to worry — this will eventually wear off. Unfortunately, so may your invincibility to postoperative pain. This is why your dentist prescribed painkillers ahead of time, so make sure to stick to the schedule, even if it means waking up in the middle of the night. You’ll be happy you did when you wake up feeling much better in the morning.
3. Eat heartily but carefully
Just because you’re stuck with a temporary liquid and soft foods diet doesn’t mean you should forego nutritious meals. It’s a great time to experiment with recipes for a soft diet, such as soups and soft vegetables. But before you break out the cup noodles and prepackaged ramen, make sure to still maintain a healthy diet and watch out for foods that can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol to rise.
During recovery, stick to staples like low-sodium soup, mashed potatoes, and yogurt with ingredients that are high in vitamins A and C as these promote healing. Over the course of recovery, avoid chewing hard or crunchy food for six to eight weeks especially in the area where the dental implants were placed.
4. Take care of your teeth
The success of your dental implants in permanently replacing lost teeth and restoring optimal dental function still highly depends on how well you maintain good oral health habits. After the surgery, make sure to keep your mouth clean by rinsing with warm salt water about four times a day instead of brushing and flossing vigorously. This is especially important after eating, as debris and food particles can lodge between healthy teeth and cause cavities and tooth decay later on. Make sure to get the all-clear from your dentist before brushing and flossing twice a day again, as you will need to be extra gentle with your gums.
Make sure to attend the follow-up checkups scheduled by your dentist, as well as regular checkups and cleanings later on. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist for tips on taking care of dental implants along with the rest of your healthy teeth, so your implants can last for life.
Everyone needs a healthy amount of regular exercise, but not immediately after your dental implant surgery. Stay away from strenuous activities for the first few days to allow your body to heal and avoid further swelling and excessive bleeding due to the strain.
2. Take hot food and drink
Who doesn’t like a good cup of coffee or tea especially when it’s cold outside? But if you’ve recently undergone dental implant surgery, you’ll need to lay off this morning habit for a while. Hot food and drink can cause burns in the mouth, especially when you’re less sensitive due to the numbing anesthetics and painkillers. While you may not feel it at the time, the burns can have lasting effects on your tongue, as well as tooth sensitivity.
3. Indulge in old vices
We all know the negative effects of smoking on our oral (and overall!) health, but this is especially true in the case of dental implants. Dental implants are often required by people who have lost teeth due to accidents or years of poor lifestyle habits causing decay; smoking ranks high on this list.
The long-term goal is to kick the habit, as this also contributes to the lifetime success of your dental implants. But as for immediately after the surgery, make sure to avoid smoking for as long as you possibly can, at the very least for the rest of the day after your surgery and even the following day. Aside from long-term respiratory and oral complications, smoking makes it harder for the body to heal. The sucking motion can cause dry sockets, which are a painful complication of oral surgeries that can occur when you have had a tooth extracted, which is often the case in dental implants.
Aside from smoking, make sure to avoid wine, beer, and any other alcoholic beverage altogether. Simply put, alcohol intake can interfere with pain medication and other prescribed antibiotics, causing a complicated and prolonged healing period.
4. Rush your recovery
Like any good thing, recovering from dental implant surgery takes time, and the best thing you can do is to avoid rushing this natural process. Don’t rush back to work and your daily routine, and instead take about a week to rest and recover from the procedure. This allows your mouth to heal properly and ensures functional dental implants that will last a lifetime.
At Dawson Dental, we believe in beautiful smiles for life. If you have missing teeth and want to stop hiding your smile, call us at 416-IMPLANT for a FREE consultation, or contact us here.