Dental implants are a popular and an effective way to replace missing teeth. The implant, which is the metal rod that is inserted into the bone, allows your dentist to place a permanent crown in the empty space so it appears as if you have a real tooth. Success depends upon properly healing after the implant post is installed. The following post-surgery tips can help you heal quickly and minimize the chances of implant failure.
Tip #1: Stop Smoking
It's no secret that tobacco use, whether from smoking or chewing, reduces your circulation. Reduced circulation results in less oxygen being delivered to the implant site, which can slow healing. Slow healing increases the chances of infections or poor integration between the implant and your bone tissue. Stop smoking in advance of your surgery if you want to increase your chances of a successful implant.
Tip #2: Refrain From Alcohol
It's also a good idea to stop drinking alcoholic beverages for the first few weeks after your surgery. Alcohol acts as a blood thinner, which can lead to increased bleeding from the surgical site. It can also negatively interact with any medications your oral surgeon prescribes.
Tip #3: Be Gentle At First
The first few days after surgery are generally the worse. Bruising, bleeding, and general feelings of physical trauma are common. You may not be able to properly brush or floss around the surgical site until the swelling goes down, but your dentist will likely prescribe a medicated mouthwash to help reduce the chances of infection. Once the swelling and bruising subsides, you can resume normal dental hygiene. Just continue to be gentle when brushing and flossing near the implant post, because you don't want to dislodge it as the bone heals around it.
Tip #4: Eat With Care
It can take many months for the bone to properly fuse with the post. The less stress placed on the posts after surgery, the more quickly the bone can properly heal around them. Stick to soft foods for the first week or two after surgery. After the initial trauma heals, you can resume your normal diet but you will want to chew on the opposite side from the implant when heating hard or difficult-to-chew foods.
Tip #5: Keep All Your Follow-Ups
Follow-up appointments are a necessity, even if it feels like everything has healed properly. Even a slight infection around the implant post can lead to bone loss, which will cause the implant to fail. Your dentist will check how well the bone is fusing around the post at each visit. They will also monitor for early signs of infection so they can reverse it before it affects the implant. Once the crown is installed, your dentist will continue to check the post at your usual six-month check ups to make sure that the implant hasn't loosened or developed any other issues.
For more information about the process, contact a company like Mount Royal Dental.