Dental implants are the only permanent replacement for missing teeth. Thanks to their natural appearance and unique health advantages, more people can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful smile than ever before.
The success rate for implants is 98%, so your chances of having to deal with complications are unlikely. However, once your implant is in place, you’ll need to follow your dentists’ instructions carefully to ensure your treatment is a success.
Explore our guide to learn about five things to avoid after dental implant surgery.
#1: Hard and Chewy Foods
For the first week or so after surgery, you’ll have to modify your diet to avoid damaging your implant. It’s especially important to avoid hard and chewy foods, such as:
- Raw vegetables
- Hard candy
Implant dentists such as Dr. John Poovey in Grand Junction, CO recommend sticking to a diet of soft foods and clear liquids for the first week after surgery. Though this may seem limiting at first, you’ll still have a wide range of foods to choose from and can resume your normal diet as soon as your implant heals.
#2: Forceful Spitting or Suction
After your surgery, a blood clot will form at the site of your new implant. This blood clot is responsible for protecting your underlying bones and nerve tissues while the site heals.
If you dislodge the blood clot, it will result in excessive bleeding and set back your treatment process. Once your nerves are exposed, this can also lead to a painful condition called dry socket. To prevent this from occurring, don’t spit forcefully or use a straw while your implant site is healing.
#3: Physical Activity
It’s well-known that exercise is an extremely valuable component of your overall health. Many people maintain regular workout routines to keep themselves in shape, with some even dedicating themselves to exercise every day.
While this is usually a good thing, you’ll need to take a break from any type of strenuous physical activity after implant placement. If you exert yourself too much, this can increase your level of pain and potentially compromise the healing process.
Most implant dentists, such as Dr. Chuck Majors in Bryan, TX, recommend resting for three to four days after surgery. As your implant heals, you can resume light exercise and gradually build back up to your usual routine.
#4: Disturbing the Surgical Area
Another problem that can set back your healing process is developing an infection in the surgical site. This is typically caused by inadequate oral hygiene. To guard against infection, stick to the following guidelines:
- Keep your fingers and tongue away from the surgical area
- Brush your teeth twice a day as usual, but be very gentle around the implant
- Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water after meals, starting the day after surgery
If you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your implant area clean.
#5: Drinking Alcohol/Smoking
Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco are both common habits that many people enjoy on a daily basis. While it may be difficult, you’ll need to resist the temptation after dental implant surgery if you want to ensure a successful treatment.
Drinking and smoking both dry out your mouth and reduce your blood flow, which can interfere with the natural healing process and set back your restoration. Dr. John Oettinger in Hope Mills, NC advises waiting at least a few days after your procedure before partaking in either of these habits.
Protect Your New Implant for Long-Term Success
Once your surgery is complete, the success of your dental implant largely depends on you. By following the aftercare tips mentioned above, you can shield yourself from potential complications and help your new smile last for many years to come.
Once your jaw is fully healed from surgery, caring for your implant becomes much easier.