A Guide to Good Health

3 Tips For Self-Care After Dental Implant Surgery

If missing teeth have been discouraging you from smiling or eating your favorite foods, you'll be happy to know there's a solution. Dental implants can be used to restore missing teeth, permanently. Your dentist will create prosthetic teeth to fit perfectly in your mouth, taking the place of the teeth you've lost. Here are three tips that will help you take care of your healing implants after dental implant surgery:

1. Stick to soft foods.

Dental implants require your dentist to cut into the soft tissue of your gums in order to access your jawbone. While your body is healing, you may feel some pain or tenderness. Your prosthetic tooth and the underlying abutment won't be put in place until your jawbone has fully healed around your new implant. In the meantime, your gums will be exposed at the implant site. Chewing may exacerbate soreness, especially if you try to eat hard or crunchy foods. You should stick to eating soft foods until your mouth begins to feel better. Smoothies, applesauce, and soup are all excellent, healthy choices. Cold foods such as ice cream can provide extra relief during times when your mouth is feeling particularly sore.

2. Avoid using straws or smoking cigarettes.

After your dental implant has been put in place, your dentist will use stitches to close the incision they made in your gums. Typically, these stitches are created with dissolvable sutures that will fade away on their own. Until your mouth has had the chance to heal, you will be at risk of a painful condition called dry socket. Dry socket occurs when the necessary blood clot is dislodged from your surgical site. Drinking beverages through straws and smoking cigarettes can lead to dry socket, so you should refrain from these activities until you are completely healed.

3. Take your pain medication as directed.

After your implant surgery, you will be prescribed pain medication, which will help you stay comfortable after the local anesthetic wears off. Dental implant surgery is a more extensive, invasive procedure than having a cavity filled, so you may experience soreness or tenderness for a week or longer. Take your pain medication as prescribed; don't be afraid to take it as often as necessary, within the boundaries of your prescription. Waiting too long in between doses might make your medication less effective at managing your pain. When in doubt, you can consult with your dentist or pharmacist.