There is a difference between having surgery and having a good outcome.  At Idaho Falls Oral and Facial Surgery we are committed to successful outcomes.  A patient who has spent the time and money for dental implant reconstruction should be aware of how to protect their investment in their mouth.

How do I take care of my implant once it’s surgically placed?

A healthy lifestyle is key to optimal healing following implant placement.  Be sure to eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, and exercise routinely.  Following placement, upon looking in your mouth, you will notice a colored cap above the tissue.  On each side of this cap, stitches will be placed.  These will dissolve or fall out on their own in 5-10 days.  For oral hygiene and care of the implant, you will use the following schedule for the initial 3 weeks:

Week 1: 

Brush all other teeth as you normally would twice daily.  Avoid brushing the implant this week.  You will only gently swish the prescribed mouth rinse after brushing.

Week 2: 

This week you may begin to gently massage the top of the healing cap with a soft post-op toothbrush that has been dipped in the rinse.  Be sure that the bristles are in contact with the cap to remove any plaque.  Continue to brush other teeth normally.

Week 3: 

This week you may begin to use your regular toothbrush and clean all teeth and implant vigorously.  A clean implant is key to success!

The No-No’s of this Healing Period

Avoid electric toothbrushes for the first three weeks. Try to keep your tongue away from the site to let it heal.   Do not put your fingers in your mouth to feel the implant!  You may eat what you can tolerate, but avoid anything with small seeds, popcorn, or nuts.  Last but not least, no chewing at all on the implant until your crown is placed by your restorative dentist.

If you are a diabetic be sure to eat a controlled diet and take your medications as prescribed.  Smokers need to be aware that this greatly affects their ability to heal properly.

—Kris Bergeman, DA, CST