If you're like many people who are considering getting dental implants, you probably really like the fact that they mimic the appearance and functionality of natural teeth far better then traditional dental bridges or dentures. Dental implants are a great choice for those who are in reasonably good health, are free of gum disease, and have enough bone tissue in the jaw to support the implants. With proper care, dental implants can last the rest of your life. You probably aren't thinking that far ahead, though — it's more likely that you're wondering what the first week or so after having the implants installed is like and what aftercare measures you should take. Here's what you should know.
Keep Your Mouth as Clean as Possible
You may experience soreness, tenderness, and even minor bleeding for up to two weeks following the procedure. All of this is normal, but it's nonetheless important to keep your mouth as clean as possible in order to prevent infection. You should resume brushing your teeth while avoiding areas that are extremely sensitive. It will be important to use a soft-bristled brush along with a low-abrasive toothpaste so that you don't scratch your prosthetic teeth as well as a specific type of dental floss designed for use by those with implants. It's also important to do your best to limit contact with food and beverages in the affected area.
Use a Warm-Water-and-Salt Mouthwash
Warm, saltwater mouthwashes promote healing, so try and do this several times per day. The temperature of the water should be as warm as you can comfortably tolerate it, and the recommended ratio is one cup of water to one teaspoon of salt. Hold the mixture in your mouth until it cools.
Swelling/Bruising Usually Peaks in Three Days
Dental patients often become concerned because the affected area continues to swell the day after the surgery, and bruises begin to enlarge. This is normal, however, and most patients find that it peaks within three days. If swelling and bruising persist beyond that, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately — this could be a sign of an infection.
The Stitches Will Dissolve
The stitches used in implant surgery are meant to dissolve within several weeks, so you won't have to go through the discomfort of having them removed by your dentist. However, if you begin to find them irritating or uncomfortable, your dentist may remove them as long as the area itself has healed.
For more information, contact a dentist about dental implants.