Our Guide to Taking Proper Care of Your Dental Implants

Get your smile back with dental implants. Once you have implants, help your new smile to last by taking proper care of your implants and your oral health. Here’s what you need to know about caring for dental implants. We’ll give you more specific care instructions as we meet together, preparing for your implant placement surgery. Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Implant Care- Very Similar to Caring for Natural Teeth

Brush, floss, rinse, repeat. Caring for dental implants is very similar to caring for natural teeth. Even better, replacement teeth can’t get cavities, although they will wear over time. With proper care, your implants have the potential to last for a lifetime. Here are some details on the basic care your implants will need.

  • Brush– Regular brushing is an important part of caring for your teeth. You can use a manual, sonic, or electric toothbrush, unless your dentist has a specific recommendation for you. Brush your teeth twice a day, at a minimum, to remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth. If you have tight or hard to reach spaces because of your implants, you may need to use specialized brushes like an interproximal brush to clean these areas.
  • Floss– Floss your teeth and implants at least once a day to remove plaque from areas that can’t be reached with a toothbrush. You may need to use a floss threader to get floss around implants, under bridges, and through bars to properly clean the teeth. Your dentist will help you learn how to properly floss around an implant. Many people are poor flossers, but with implants especially, it is important to step up your game and get in the flossing habit. Avoiding infection and keeping your mouth clean is important for the longevity of your implants and for your overall dental health.
  • Visit the Dentist– Regular dental cleanings will keep your smile in tip-top shape. Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up in hidden, hard to clean areas. Regular cleanings will remove this build-up, before it becomes a serious problem. Regular dental visits also check for problems with the implants, ensuring they remain strong and healthy. Your dentist will help keep your body healthy by looking for oral cancers and swollen lymph nodes. Most patients will see their dentist every six months with dental implants, but some may require more frequent visits.
  • Specialized Tools– Your dentist may recommend some specialized tools to make caring for implants more successful. Some patients use water flossers, antimicrobial oral rinses, gum stimulators, and other tools to maintain oral health. Talk with your dentist for specific recommendations about tools that may be helpful to you.

If you want your implants to last, regular care is essential. These steps may sound basic, but they are the key to good dental health, with or without implants.

Right After Implants- Care for Your Implants During Recovery

Once your implants are established and healed, you’ll care for them similarly to natural teeth. However, right after placement, they will require special care during the recovery process. Here’s how to care for your implants during recovery.

  • Stay on Top of Pain Control– Most patients find that implant placement is less painful than tooth extractions. We recommend that you start using pain medications before the surgical anesthetic wears off.
  • Do Not Brush the Site for a Week- Avoid brushing the surgical site for a week after surgery.
  • Rinse with Peridex- You’ll need to rinse 2x daily with Peridex, a prescription oral rinse, in the morning and at night. Brush your teeth about 30 minutes after using Peridex as it can stain the teeth. For the first week, rinse with salt water after eating or drinking.
  • Do Not Play with Sutures– Your sutures should stay in place for 5-7 days and will fall out on their own. Do not play with the sutures or they may fall out too soon.
  • Do Not Chew on the Surgical Site for a Week- Maintain a soft diet for the first few days. Avoid chewing with the implants for at least a week. We recommend that you avoid hard foods like chips and nuts for a week after treatment as they can irritate the healing tissue around your implants.
  • Keep Up with Follow Up Care– We’ll see you again about 2-3 months after placement to ensure the bone is healing properly around the implant. In most cases, you’ll be able to see your dentist for a final restoration around this same time. If the implant is not exposed, you’ll need a small procedure to uncover it after 2-3 months.
  • Practice Good Dental Hygiene- Don’t wait to start good dental hygiene practices. You should resume regular brushing the day after placement, avoiding the site for about a week. Follow our recommendations for brushing, flossing, etc. as soon as possible. Dental problems can develop quickly if good hygiene isn’t practiced.

With proper care and maintenance, your dental implants can provide long lasting beauty and function to your smile. Call us today to schedule a dental implant consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.


My tooth was knocked out! What do I do now?

 

No matter how careful we are with our teeth—accidents happen. A tooth that’s been knocked out, also known as avulsed tooth, can be saved and re-implanted back. However, it still depends on how the tooth is treated while it is outside the mouth. Acting quickly and wisely is the key to saving an avulsed tooth.

What You Can Do

When the tooth gets knocked out, the most important step is to remain calm — do not panic. Though the nerves and supporting tissues are damaged during tooth avulsion, a root canal procedure can bring the tooth back to its place. Rushing to the dentist as soon as possible will increase the chances of saving a tooth. It is also important to avoid damaging the tooth even more. The following are the steps that you can take to help you preserve an avulsed tooth:

  • Try not to touch the root of the tooth—the end of the tooth that was attached to the gums. It may worsen the damage.
  • If the tooth gets dirty, you can wash it using milk while holding it by its crown. If there’s no milk, you can rinse it with water. Remember not to dry it with a cloth or any fabric.
  • Always keep the tooth moist. You can do this by filling a glass with milk, and putting the tooth inside. If there’s no milk, you can keep it in your mouth, between your cheek. However, a child may not be able to this without swallowing the tooth. For children, you may ask the child to spit an amount of saliva in a glass, where the tooth can be placed. If none of these are possible, you can place the tooth in a glass of water.
  • Try to put the tooth back into its socket. There are many instances that the tooth will slip back to its place without you needing to put pressure on it. Make sure it is facing the right way, but never force it back in its socket. If the tooth can’t slip back to its location, the best thing to do is to keep it moist.

What the Oral Surgeon Can Do

If the tooth is still in a good condition, the oral surgeon might be able to put it back in its socket. The procedure can be easy or complicated depending on how damaged the tooth is. After examining the tooth and performing an X-ray to assess the condition of the tooth, the oral surgeon may attach the avulsed tooth next to healthy teeth. This would allow proper support so your tooth can deal. The oral surgeon will then decide how long the splint should remain until the tooth is fully healed. Usually, if the tooth is not damaged, it will take about six to eight weeks until it is repaired. The more damaged the area is, the longer it will take for its full restoration.

Get Optimal Oral Health!

Your teeth need proper care. If you or someone you know have an avulsed tooth, do the steps above and rush them quickly to our clinic. Achieve a more confident smile by reaching out to Hill Country Oral Surgery for your oral health needs.


5 Tips to Prepare for My Oral Surgery Consultation

 

Preparing for your initial oral surgery consultation is essential. For a successful operation, and for the sake of you and your surgeon, it’s best that you are ready not just emotionally, but logistically, too. The best way to feel confident about your procedure is to be equipped with all the important information and facts about it. To feel assured and confident that you are in good hands, the first and most crucial step is preparing for your oral surgery consultation.

1. Address Your Concerns Clearly

Your consultation is the best time to discuss your condition. During your meeting, it is important to get to know your doctor and share with him your expectations for your operation. If you are feeling pain and discomfort, or you have suffered facial injuries, make sure to discuss every detail of your situation with your doctor. If you have any remaining past dental records that outline your previous treatment and evaluations, handing them out during your consultation would be a good idea.

2. Be Prepared for a Dental Exam and Diagnostic Imaging

To clearly assess your current condition, your oral surgeon may conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, jaw, and mouth. During this period, your surgeon may assess your past dental records, as well as your current health to be able to foresee the success of your oral surgery. Diagnostic imaging may be required. This step will help your oral surgeon see your bone structures, which is a significant factor in developing a careful treatment plan for you.

3. Provide Current Medications List

Oral surgeries involve the use of anesthesia. The kind of anesthesia used will depend on your surgery. To make sure the use of anesthetics goes smoothly, it is necessary to tell your surgeon all kinds of medications you are currently taking. Even over-the-counter drugs may cause an interaction with anesthesia. Thus, creating a list of your current medicines and handing it out to your doctor would be a good pre-operative step.

4. Be Prepared to Fill out Health Forms

The safety and success of your surgery are your surgeon’s main priorities. To be able to attain these goals, your current health condition plays a major part. Thus, as part of the consultation, expect to fill out an important series of health forms. Answering these forms will clearly address if you have current or past illnesses that may affect the result of your oral surgery. Details about your previous operations may as well be asked, and if you had unusual reactions to anesthesia.

5. Prepare a List of Questions

Your oral surgery consultation is the best time to get your questions answered. It is typical for patients to have a long list of inquiries before their operation. Thus, make sure to make a list of all your questions. Treatment options will be offered during your consultation, and the most appropriate approach for you depends on the benefits and shortcomings of each procedure on your end. You can ask everything about your surgery, including your goals. You can also ask about the treatment procedure, post surgery care, insurance coverage, cost, etc.

Schedule a Consultation

Now that you know how to prepare for your oral surgery consultation, the next step is choosing the best schedule for your appointment. Meet your doctor, and get your questions answered during your consultation with Hill Country Oral Surgery.