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How should we take care of our dental implants?
July 01, 2024  |  Uncategorized

How should we take care of our dental implants?

Getting dental implants is a big decision, but it can drastically improve your quality of life and give you a confident smile. Once you've made that decision, you might be wondering: how should we take care of our dental implants? It's simpler than you might think, and a lot like taking care of your regular teeth but with a few crucial differences. Trust me; you want these amazing implants to last.

Taking care of your new implants begins the moment you step out of the dentist’s office. Proper aftercare is just as vital as the dental implant procedure. Then, it's all about keeping up with good oral hygiene habits at home and seeing your dentist regularly for implant maintenance.

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Table Of Contents:

Right After Implant Surgery: The First 24 Hours

Let’s be real; the first 24 hours after any surgery are always a bit rough, and dental implant surgery is no exception. However, following these guidelines will minimize discomfort and set the stage for a smooth healing process. I can’t stress this enough, though - if you have ANY concerns, please contact your dentist immediately.

Control Bleeding

After your surgery, your dentist will have placed gauze in your mouth to help control bleeding. You can gently bite down on this - the pressure helps stop the bleeding. Change it every hour, or as directed by your dentist, until the bleeding subsides.

Reduce Swelling

An ice pack is your best friend after dental implant surgery. It's super important in those first 24 hours. Apply it to the outside of your face where you had the surgery in 15-minute intervals.

This will help bring down swelling, which in turn minimizes pain and discomfort. Keep that head elevated, too. Try sleeping with an extra pillow – it really does help.

Focus on Food and Drink

This probably goes without saying, but stick to soft foods and cold drinks for the first 24 hours. I’m talking smoothies, yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes—you get the idea.

As tempting as that hot coffee may be, give it a miss for the first day. Hot foods and drinks can irritate the surgical area, and no one wants that. Also, avoid using straws - the suction can dislodge those all-important blood clots forming over the surgery sites.

Medication as Directed

Take any prescribed medication exactly as directed by your dentist. It’s tempting to tough it out, but pain medication is there to manage discomfort and help you heal properly.

Remember, this is not a race; follow those directions. This is a vital part of the implant recovery process. For implant patients, it is essential to adhere to aftercare instructions.

Avoid Rinsing or Touching

As tempting as it may be to swish and rinse, keep it on hold for the first day. Excessive rinsing can disturb the surgical site. You’ll want to be gentle on those newly placed implants.

No Driving Allowed.

Seriously, this is super important. After implant surgery, you absolutely can’t drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours – longer if your medication requires it.

Play it safe and arrange for a ride home or ask a friend or family member. The last thing you want to do is put yourself or others at risk because you are not following your aftercare instructions.

Long-Term Implant Care: Maintaining Your New Smile

Now, for the long game. Taking care of your dental implants for the long haul might sound daunting, but I promise you it’s not as complicated as you might think.

The key is to be consistent, diligent, and think of those implants like they're your natural teeth (because in terms of care, they basically are). So, how should we take care of our dental implants long term? Proper care is one of the best ways to ensure your dental implants stay in place for a lifetime.

Oral Hygiene: It Still Matters (Maybe More.)

This bears repeating - caring for dental implants is very similar to caring for natural teeth. So, don’t ditch that toothbrush and floss just yet. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing are essential to remove food debris and that sticky film of bacteria called plaque.

Remember, you want to keep that good oral health in check. Practicing good oral hygiene will not only help maintain dental implants but will also improve your overall oral health.

Brushing: Be Gentle but Thorough.

Brushing your teeth twice a day should be as automatic as ever. For implants, dentists typically recommend a soft-bristled brush. Believe it or not, studies don't show significant differences between manual, electric, or sonic toothbrushes when it comes to effectiveness; it's more about technique.

This means you need to brush gently yet effectively, focusing on all surfaces of the implants and surrounding teeth for a minimum of two minutes. Pay special attention to where your implants meet your gums.

Flossing: Yes, You Absolutely MUST Floss

You knew it was coming, right? Flossing might seem less exciting, but with implants, it's super important. If you're part of that 84% of Americans who don't floss every day, it's time to make a change.

Daily flossing is your weapon against plaque building up around those implants. Opt for unwaxed tape or floss specifically designed for implants, ensuring you reach all the nooks and crannies between teeth and around the implant posts. This will also help you avoid gum disease.

Mouthwash: The Finishing Touch.

Mouthwash can add that extra layer of protection for your new pearly (or should I say, “implany.”) whites. An antimicrobial mouthwash helps keep harmful bacteria at bay, further minimizing your risk of complications.

Plus, who doesn't love fresh breath? There are also types of mouthwash designed specifically for people with dental implants, so make sure to ask your dentist which is right for you.

Choosing the Right Dental Products

We’ve established that your dental hygiene routine doesn’t change much. But, here’s a curveball: the dental products you use DO matter. Choosing products that won’t damage those implants is a key factor in “How should we take care of our dental implants?”

Toothpaste: The Importance of Low-Abrasiveness

Using Low-abrasive toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth and gums is not just a marketing ploy – it can be super helpful, especially with implants. The goal is to keep those pearly whites clean without being too abrasive. Check that RDA rating Opens in a new window to Colgate’s website, which tells you how abrasive the toothpaste is.

Look for one that's low - an RDA of 250 or less is best. This helps prevent scratches to your implant surfaces, keeping your new smile shining bright. Aim for toothpaste that has earned the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance, meaning it meets the American Dental Association's standards for safety and effectiveness.

Lifestyle Choices and Their Impact on Implants

Now, for the less glamorous but equally important aspect of implant care. Remember how I mentioned that dental implants are like your natural teeth? Just like certain habits can harm natural teeth, they can negatively affect those implants too. Ready for a bit of tough love?

Say No to Smoking.

You knew this one was coming, right? We're all aware of the long list of reasons why smoking is bad for you, but for those with dental implants, it’s a big no-no.

Smoking not only hinders your body’s ability to heal but also increases the risk of implant failure. In a nutshell, ditch those cigarettes. It's crucial for implant success. And, if you need extra help to kick the habit, reach out to a medical professional.

Moderate Your Alcohol Intake

Enjoying a glass of wine now and then is fine, but excessive alcohol consumption can affect implant health too. Alcohol dehydrates your mouth, which in turn creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. The last thing you want is bacteria partying around those precious implants, am I right? Moderation is key.

Diet and Dental Implants: Food for Thought

One of the many amazing things about dental implants is that, with proper dental implant care, you can enjoy most foods just like you would with your natural teeth.  You do have to use some common sense, however. Chewing ice, crunching down on hard candy, or battling tough, sticky foods can damage your implants, potentially shortening their lifespan or even causing them to become loose or fractured. Think about it - would you subject your natural teeth to that kind of punishment? I think not. Here's a table I created for a general idea of foods to be mindful of, so pay attention.

Also, when it comes to foods to avoid, hard foods are on the top of the list. Steer clear of foods that require you to bite with your front teeth as this can put too much pressure on the implants.

Be Careful With These. Think Twice Before Indulging.
Hard Candies Steak (especially tough cuts)
Ice Crusty bread (baguettes, hard rolls)
Popcorn (those unpopped kernels.) Hard raw vegetables (carrots, celery, apples)
Bones (avoid chewing on those.) Dried Fruits
Hard Nuts and Seeds Hard taco shells

Regular Dental Check-Ups: Your Best Defense.

Just because your implants aren't real teeth doesn't mean you get to skip those dental appointments. Regular dental check-ups are an absolute must with implants, perhaps even more so than with your natural chompers.

Here’s the thing: problems are always easier (and let’s be frank, cheaper.) to treat when caught early. See your dentist regularly to ensure your implants are happy and healthy. During these regular visits, your dentist can check the health of your implants and address any issues.

FAQs about How Should We Take Care of Our Dental Implants?

FAQ 1: How to properly care for dental implants?

Caring for dental implants properly involves brushing at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and low-abrasive toothpaste, flossing daily to remove food particles and plaque, using an antimicrobial mouthwash, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and maintaining a balanced diet while being cautious of hard or sticky foods. And don’t forget those regular dental check-ups—every six months, promise?

FAQ 2: How often should dental implants be checked?

Even though your implants aren’t susceptible to cavities, that doesn’t mean you can give your dentist the slip. Scheduling regular dental checkups, ideally every six months, is vital for ensuring those implants are in tip-top shape. This allows your dentist to examine the implants and surrounding gums, professionally clean the area, and address any concerns promptly. This is where your dentist will remove plaque and check for any signs of implant failure.

FAQ 3: How can I improve my dental implant success?

You've got this. To really improve those chances of implant success, follow those aftercare instructions diligently (remember those first 24 hours?) Then, focus on a solid daily oral hygiene routine: gentle but effective brushing, consistent flossing (yes, I said it again.), and using a non-abrasive toothpaste and an antibacterial mouthwash can make a huge difference.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by ditching the cigarettes and cutting back on excessive alcohol are also super important. And, don’t forget those crucial six-month dental check-ups. A water flosser can be a good idea for removing food debris from those hard-to-reach areas.

FAQ 4: What are the do's and don'ts after implants?

I've got your back. Here's your cheat sheet.


  • Stick to soft foods and cool drinks. Avoid chewing directly on the implant site until it's fully healed.

  • Use ice packs to reduce swelling for those first 24 hours.

  • Take any prescribed pain relievers or antibiotics exactly as directed.

  • Keep your head elevated. Get some extra sleep in; those implants deserve it.


  • No smoking or tobacco use - this includes vaping, too. And go easy on that alcohol. Tobacco products can hinder the healing process.

  • Don’t use a straw. You want to avoid dislodging that all-important blood clot at the implant site.

  • No vigorous spitting or rinsing for at least 24 hours to avoid disrupting healing.

  • Avoid brushing the surgical area for at least the first few days (your dentist will give you specific instructions.), but feel free to brush and floss your other teeth as usual.


Learning how should we take care of our dental implants is the most crucial step after you have them placed. Caring for dental implants isn’t a mystery; think of it as a long-term commitment to your oral (and overall) health. From understanding the significance of a gentle but thorough oral hygiene routine, complete with soft-bristled brushes, implant-specific floss, and low-abrasive toothpaste, to the important lifestyle changes, you can keep those implants strong.

 Remember, those regular dental visits every six months? Don't even think about skipping those. With proper dental care, you’ll be flashing that confident smile for years to come. Schedule an appointment today with a dentist experienced in dental implant surgery.