What Are Dental Implants?
Before we get into how to care for dental implants, why don’t we start with the basics. You probably have a vague conception of dental implants and their function, but what are they really?
Endosteal vs Subperiosteal
There are two types of dental implants: endosteal implants, which are implanted right into the jawbone, and subperiosteal implants, which include a metal frame that is attached and fitted to the jawbone, eventually becoming fixed to it. Like endosteal implants, artificial teeth are mounted to posts that are attached to the frame. We know this all sounds very technical and intimidating, but don’t worry. These false teeth are designed to appear and function just like natural teeth!
Benefits of Implants
Dental implants have many advantages over previous treatments and solutions for missing or damaged teeth. Some of those include:
• Improved appearance: Implants look and feel like your own teeth and are designed to fuse with bone, making them more permanent.
• Improved speech: Implants allow you to speak naturally and freely, without worrying about slippage associated with dentures.
• Improved comfort: No need to remove implants at night – they become part of you.
• Eating is easier: No pain or worry eating what you like with implants. They won’t slip or rub as dentures can.
• Durability: Implants last for many years, some for a lifetime.
With proper care and oral hygiene, dental implants have a success rate of 98% and can last a lifetime. At San Antonio Periodontics and Implants, we’ll show you how to take care of your implants.
Prior to Implant Procedures
At San Antonio Periodontics and Implants, we’ll make sure you understand clearly how to prepare before and after your implant procedure. Some of the guidelines we’ll talk about include:
• Meal preparation: If possible, stock up on soft foods like pasta, soup and Jell-O. At first, your gums may feel tender, so eating hard foods like nuts and raw vegetables is discouraged.
• Downtime: Give yourself at least a week of downtime after your surgery. If possible, avoid attending events and working. Find a good book, record some good movies or catch up on your binge watching!
• Fasting: We’ll explain to you how long you should fast before your procedure. It will depend on whether or not you will have sedation and how long the procedure will last.
• Ride home: You’ll need to arrange for a ride home after your surgery. You may need to stop on the way home to pick up a pain medication prescription.
Immediately After Implantation
It is important to be sure your implant maintains its health immediately after surgery. If you start off on a bad foot, it’ll be hard to ensure the long-term health of your shiny new teeth. First off, here are some bad habits to avoid:
• For the first few days, it is best to avoid the surgical area. Try not to touch the area with your tongue or finger, though the tenderness should deter this.
• Keep food as far from the surgical area as you can. Rinse your mouth out after meals to ensure no pesky food gets caught in your implant, which could potentially cause an infection.
• No smoking until your surgical wound heals. Smoking while recovering from this surgery could greatly hinder your healing process.
• Physical exercise should be kept to a minimum or not at all.
Now for things you are encouraged to do:
• Starting the evening of the surgery, clean your other teeth with a toothbrush. Avoid the surgical area at first, but once soreness subsides, begin to clean the surgical area along with your other teeth.
• Use a hot salt mouthwash on the surgical area as often as possible.
• Take vitamins to make sure your body gets the nourishment it needs, especially since your diet will be limited.
• Rest, rest, rest!
As we mentioned above, your implants appear and function just like natural teeth, so long-term care doesn’t differ too much from your normal routine. Brush and floss twice a day using low-abrasive toothpaste, an electric or manual toothbrush, and unwaxed tape floss and visit your dentist every 3-6 months so that they can check the health of your teeth. Set up an appointment here today!
Here are some additional tools to help keep your implants extra clean:
• Interdental brushes for subperiosteal implants
• Antimicrobial mouth rinses
• Inter-dental brushes or other instruments to aid plaque removal
• Disclosing tablets to stain plaque accumulation
Contact the doctors at San Antonio Periodontics and Implants to see if any of these tools are recommended for you!
Our professional and gentle treatment of gum disease, cosmetic procedures and dental implants is personalized.