For most dental implant patients, the placement of dental implants is a minor surgical procedure that can be carried out under local anaesthetic, or conscious sedation if you are nervous or phobic about dental treatment. Many patients report that the procedure is more comfortable than having a tooth removed. Like any surgical procedure, aftercare is important, and good practices here will speed up healing time and decrease the chance of your implants failing.
Listen to your dentist, who will provide you with thorough instructions on how to look after your implants. Here are some top tips for looking after your implants.
While implant surgery should not be painful, some patients experience mild to moderate pain for a few days after surgery. This is common with all surgical procedures, and in most cases can be relieved by over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always read the label and do not take more than the stated dose. If you find you are still experiencing pain despite taking the tablets, speak to your dentist, doctor or pharmacist, who can advise you on stronger pain relief.
- Stick to soft diet for a few days, such as yoghurt, ice cream, rice or pureed fruit/vegetables.
- Do not eat any hard or sharp foods (such as crisps, toast) for the first few days, but return to a normal diet as soon as possible, unless you are advised otherwise by your dentist.
- Drink plenty of water – adults should drink 2 litres of water a day.
- Do not use a straw but drink straight from the glass, as sucking a straw can dislodge blood clots and impair healing.
- Avoid hot drinks while your mouth is numb.
- Do not avoid eating as this will slow the healing process. You may find several small meals are easier to eat than three meals a day to start off with.
- Avoid alcohol, particularly if you are using pain relief.
A good oral hygiene regime is essential to healing and vastly increases the chances of your implants being successful. Always follow your dentist's advice.
- Do not avoid brushing your teeth and the implant abutments, but be gentle and not too vigorous while the abutments heal.
- Avoid vigorous rinsing until the day after surgery.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water or plain water five or six times a day from the day after surgery. This is particularly important after eating.
- If you are prescribed a medicated mouthwash by your dentist, use this as directed. Rinse for at least 30 seconds. It is common to use the mouthwash three times a day, after eating and before bed, but always follow your dentist's instructions.
- Smoking vastly increases the risk of implants failing. If you smoke you should speak to your dentist, who may be able to help you to stop. If you do not want to stop completely, you should avoid smoking in the weeks after surgery and should use nicotine substitutes, such as patches.
- You should avoid alcohol immediately after surgery, particularly if you are using pain relief.
- Avoid vigorous exercise for at least 12 hours after surgery. Exercising in the first few days may cause implant sites to bleed, and as you may not be eating a normal diet for the first few days, you may find your energy levels are lower than usual.
- You may experience some bruising on your face after surgery. This is normal and should disappear after a few days.
- If you notice anything unusual, please get in touch with us and we can advise you on the best course of action.