Dental Implant Maintenance Tips

by Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD | Oct 20, 2023

At Doctors Implants, our team of exceptional Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons takes immense pride and pleasure in providing patients with a new lease on their smile and overall oral health. Full mouth dental implants represent an incredible opportunity to regain the comfort, function, and aesthetics of natural teeth and are increasingly the preferred treatment option for patients with multiple missing or damaged teeth.

Dental implants have an extremely high success rate (at Doctors Implants our implant success rate is over 99%), but that doesn’t mean they don’t require care and attention. To the contrary, committing to a proper maintenance routine is a critical element of ensuring the longevity, comfort, and health of your new smile. At Doctors Implants we’re by your side to answer your questions and guide you every step of the way.

If you’re considering investing in full mouth dental implants or have recently committed to the process, it’s important to understand what you can expect in terms of ongoing maintenance both post-surgery and over the long term. Below, we’ll explore the benefits of regular dental implant maintenance, what it looks like, and how to avoid common mistakes and errors. We’ll conclude with a quick look at some warning signs and symptoms to be aware of and how to ensure that they’re treated quickly and effectively.

As always, the team at Doctors Implants is available to connect with you personally. If you have specific questions about dental implant maintenance, or any other aspects of the dental implant journey, contact us directly at 1-844-SMILES2.

What Are the Benefits of Regular Dental Implant Maintenance?

Some patients mistakenly believe that, because full mouth dental implants offer a complete replacement for natural teeth, oral hygiene will no longer be required.

In reality, dental implants require consistent care and maintenance just like natural teeth and the impacts of poor oral hygiene can be detrimental.

The benefits of regular dental implant maintenance include:

  • The prevention of infection and gum disease
  • Increased longevity of your prosthetic teeth
  • A drastic reduction in the risk of dental implant failure
  • Saving time, money, and discomfort over the long term
  • Increasing your overall confidence and quality of life

Steps for Proper Maintenance

Proper dental implant maintenance is crucial directly following surgery as well as in the weeks, months, and years that follow. Below, we’ve provided an overview of how to care for your implants throughout the healing process and beyond.

Rest assured that your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will provide you with more detailed instructions and answer any specific questions when you receive your 6 Hour Smile as well as at subsequent appointments.

Oral Hygiene

Immediately following your 6 Hour Smile procedure, you’ll need to carefully follow your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions. These will include icing regularly, taking pain medication as prescribed, avoiding hot liquids and foods, and avoiding any disturbance to the implant sites.

In the first ten days after surgery your oral hygiene routine will consist of brushing twice daily with a soft bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive gel toothpaste as well as rinsing your mouth every waking hour with saltwater throughout the day. On about the eleventh day post-surgery, you’ll also be able to begin using your Waterpik on the soft setting after every meal as you heal.

Once you have fully healed, your maintenance routine will continue to consist of twice daily brushings with a soft toothbrush and gel toothpaste. You’ll also use your Waterpik every time you brush. Wearing a custom protective night guard may be advisable if you clench or grind your teeth at night.

Hygiene Appointments

Just as you attend annual cleanings with your natural teeth, hygiene appointments once you’ve received your full mouth dental implants are no different. 

Attending regularly scheduled check-ups and cleanings is a crucial component of your implant maintenance and oral health routine. Having a professional assess your implants and overall oral health is the best way to identify any issues or concerns and it’s important not to skip these appointments under any circumstances.

Common Mistakes and Errors

Maintaining good oral health with dental implants isn’t difficult, but it does require consistency and a clear understanding of the dos and don’ts. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common mistakes and errors we see our implant patients make as they establish their oral health and hygiene routines:

Disturbing the Affected Area

Swelling is normal after receiving full mouth dental implants and it can be tempting to probe the implant sites with your tongue, fingers, or toothbrush. Our professional and emphatic advice? Don’t.

The tissue around your implant sites needs to stay intact in order to heal properly, and poking or prodding it in the days and weeks following surgery can impede or disrupt the recovery process. Avoid activities that could unintentionally disturb healing tissue (even something as simple as drinking through a straw) and contact our team at Doctors Implants immediately if you notice unexpected bleeding.

Not Setting a Consistent Routine

It may sound basic, but setting a consistent oral hygiene routine is a critical element of successfully recovering from dental implant surgery and maintaining your healthy smile for a lifetime. Keep plaque and bacteria at bay with regular brushing and use of your Waterpik, attend professional hygiene appointments, and protect your teeth from grinding with a custom night guard as recommended by your dentist.

Building a strong foundation of good oral hygiene habits will serve you well for the rest of your life and ensure that your investment in full mouth dental implants offers the ongoing comfort, function, and value you expect.

Eating the Wrong Foods

In the days and weeks immediately following the 6 Hour Smile procedure—a period during which your mouth is still healing and you haven’t yet received your permanent teeth—it’s essential to eat a soft food diet. You’ll need to focus on consuming soft foods (smoothies/shakes, well cooked pasta, eggs/omelets, soups, fish, rice, mashed foods, etc.) and avoid potentially damaging foods such as crunchy nuts and chips, ice, hard candies, gum, raw crunchy vegetables, fruits with skin on the outside, and foods that require tearing using front or back teeth (bagels, pizza crust, etc.).

Even after you’ve fully healed, the team at Doctors Implants strongly recommends avoiding excessively hard and sticky foods that can weaken or damage your new smile.

Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco before or during your recovery from full mouth dental implant surgery can have serious negative consequences and is strongly discouraged. Ideally, quitting smoking altogether is the best option for your oral and overall health.

Nicotine exposure can weaken your immune system, slowing down the recovery process, and cigarette smoke can damage the bone and tissue surrounding your implant sites. Smoking has also been shown to reduce peripheral blood flow, which means that less oxygen will reach your oral tissue.

Tobacco usage can drastically and negatively impact the success of full mouth dental implants. If you are a smoker and are not planning to quit, speak directly with your surgeon for specific information on how long you’ll need to avoid tobacco usage before and after your 6 Hour Smile procedure.

Common Issues With Dental Implants

Though rare, implant issues and complications do occasionally arise. The earlier you identify a problem and seek care at the Doctors Implants clinic, the quicker and more efficient the repair or treatment will be.

Signs and Symptoms To Look For

As you recover from full mouth dental implant surgery, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the normal healing process from issues that may be of concern. At Doctors Implants, we always recommend erring on the side of caution.At Doctors Implants our experienced Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are ready to support and guide you through your 6 Hour Smile and the recovery and maintenance beyond. To book your free consultation, call us today at 1-844-SMILES2!

About the Author

Andrew Mueller, DMD, MD

Dr. Andrew Mueller loves being an oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. After completing both dental and then medical school, he did a general surgery residency and an oral/maxillofacial surgery residency (both at Parkland hospital in Dallas, Texas). He has performed countless general anesthetics in the operating room, learning how to safely put patients to sleep and wake them back up.

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