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By age 17, about 7% of people in the US have lost at least one permanent tooth due to decay. In adults 65 to 74, about 26% have lost all their teeth. If you’re missing teeth, you might want to consider dental implants.

It helps to know what to expect after treatment before scheduling the procedure, though. Preparing beforehand will ensure the best possible results.

Here are five tips for dental implant aftercare from your Lakewood family dentist. With these tips, you can heal and ensure your implants last.

Discover how to care for your dental implants with these five tips today.

1. Plan Ahead of Time

Most people don’t realize the dental implant procedure itself is fairly straightforward. However, you will experience some discomfort afterward. Detailed preparation before receiving your dental implants can ensure everything goes smoothly.

First, make sure to schedule a consultation appointment with your Lakewood family dentist. They can go over the steps for dental implant aftercare with you. Make sure to follow their instructions to the letter.

Use your consultation appointment to ask any lingering questions you have on your mind, too.

For example, you might want to ask if you’ll need to take time off work. It’s unlikely you’ll need time off. However, some patients prefer to take a day or two off as a precaution.

If you have any big commitments around the day of your procedure, consider rescheduling them.

You might want to ask someone to accompany you to the appointment, too. You might want to have someone drive you home the day of the procedure.

Many implant dentists use local anesthesia. You can also request sedation through an intravenous line or by mouth.

If you choose sedation, make sure a responsible adult arrives after your appointment. They’ll need to escort you home afterward. Your Lakewood family dentist will review any other steps you need to follow after sedation. 

Some patients choose to ask their dentists about pain relief, too. You likely won’t need pain relief after the procedure. However, some patients have the appropriate painkillers on hand afterward as a precaution. 

Your dentist will let you know about any dental prescriptions you’ll need to pick up beforehand, too. 

2. Prepare for Healing

Take the time to discuss the healing process with your dentist, too.

For example, you might experience some minor bleeding after the implant is placed. Don’t worry; that’s normal.

Your dentist might ask you to apply pressure on the treatment area. You can bite firmly on a gauze pad for about an hour to staunch the bleeding. 

After an hour, you can bite on another gauze pad for another 30 minutes if necessary.

Some patients elect to bite down on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes if bleeding persists, which is unlikely. The tannic acid in the tea leaves can help by promoting blood clotting.

Afterward, you shouldn’t experience much bleeding. If bleeding persists, let your dentist know.

Talk to your dentist about how you can promote healing, too. For example, try gentle rinsing.

Try not to disrupt the surgical site with your fingers or tongue. Otherwise, you could unintentionally dislodge the blood clot that formed. The site might start bleeding as a result.

Avoid sucking on straws, spitting, or smoking in the meantime. Otherwise, you could slow down the healing process. 

Talk to your dentist about relaxation activities you can use after the procedure. Try to restrict your activity on the day of your surgery. Otherwise, physical activity can cause throbbing, which could lead to bleeding.

Instead, give yourself the chance to rest.

Swelling and Discomfort

It’s normal to experience some swelling or bruising after the procedure. You might not notice swelling until the day after the surgery.

You can reduce swelling by using ice packs. Wrap the ice in a towel and hold it against the side of your face for 20 minutes. Keep it off for 10 minutes before applying ice again. 

You shouldn’t experience more than mild discomfort during the healing process. Consider taking your first dose of painkillers before the anesthetic wears off. Continue taking them regularly for the first two days after the procedure.

Any over-the-counter medication you take for headaches should help.

The pain and discomfort you experience should subside each day following the procedure. If you still experience pain, talk to your dentist. 

3. Consider Your Diet

Only consume cold drinks the day of your surgery. Make sure to remain hydrated.

Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot drinks. Avoid eating while still under the effects of the local anesthetic. 

In the days after the procedure, try to eat nourishing foods. A healthy diet can help you heal faster. You might have more energy, too.

Try to consume soft foods. Make sure to eat away from the implant site.

Otherwise, avoid foods like popcorn, seeded fruit, or seeds (which can get stuck in your teeth, leading to an infection).

You can continue eating normally after seven to 10 days.

4. Maintain Oral Hygiene

Talk to your Lakewood family dentist about your dental implant aftercare. You can discuss your oral hygiene habits in the days after the procedure.

Your dentist might prescribe a chlorhexidine mouthwash. Otherwise, use warm salt-water rinses four to five times a day. Gentle rinsing after meals could help with healing. 

Make sure to avoid vigorous swishing. 

Your dentist might encourage you to clean your teeth with a toothbrush right away. Make sure to remain gentle around the implant.

5. Avoid Potential Problems

Talk to your dentist about avoiding potential issues as your dental implants heal, too.

For example, you’ll need to avoid biting or excessive pressure around the implant site. If you struggle with bruxism, use a bite guard.

Insufficient oral hygiene could impact the long-term success of your implants. Follow the dentist’s precise cleaning instructions. Generally, dental implants have a 90 to 95% success rate.

Avoid smoking and strenuous activity, too.

Dental Implant Aftercare: 5 Tips From Your Lakewood Family Dentist

Dental implant aftercare doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, talk to your Lakewood family dentist. They’ll make sure you’re prepared for every step of the process.

Ready to schedule your procedure? We can’t wait to see you. 

Contact us today to get started.