If your dentist plans to place dental implants in your mouth, you may have concerns about taking care of them properly during the healing period. Until your dentist covers your implants with dental crowns, it's important that you avoid placing stress on your implant posts while they bond with your jawbones. In addition, using the proper oral care techniques is critical to the health of your gums, which can develop gum disease over time. The following oral care tips can help you get through the healing stage with less pain and complications.
Why Keep Your Dental Implant Posts Clean and Sanitized
After your dentist inserts dental implant posts into your jawbone, there will be a small gap between the posts and gum tissue. The gap is called a micro gap. The oral bacteria inside your mouth can fill in the gap after your implant procedure. Because of this, it's critical that you be proactive with your oral care to minimize the presence of bacteria in your mouth during the healing period, or you risk the development of periodontal disease.
In addition to gum disease, you can experience bad breath or halitosis after your implant procedure. Bacteria can give off a sulfuric odor once you expose them to air, such as opening your mouth to eat or talk. In some cases, you may not notice the odor until someone points it out to you.
The most effective way to reduce oral bacteria in your mouth is to clean out the micro gaps daily. Using traditional floss and toothbrush may be painful on your tender gums, so you may wish to use something less irritating for your mouth. A electric water flosser may do the trick.
How to Use the Electric Water Flosser Correctly
Electric water flossers are commonly used during regular oral hygiene as a way to minimize plaque and bacteria in the mouth. However, with careful use, you can use it to flush out the bacteria and other debris that hide inside the micro gaps around your dental implant posts.
Here's what you do:
- Place warm water inside the holding tank of your electric flosser — warm water can soothe the sore, tender gum tissue around your implant posts
- Set the flosser's water pressure to "1" for slow — a higher setting may emit too much water pressure on your gums
- Insert a water pick into the flosser's water wand
- Place a plastic food container beneath your chin to catch the water, food debris and bacteria that come out of your mouth — you can sanitize the container with household cleaner and use it later
- Turn the flosser on, then gently move the tip of the water pick and wand around the dental implant posts — you want to thoroughly flush out every micro gap, so take your time during the cleaning
- Empty the cup or food container once it fills up with water, then continue your oral care
If you have a lot of debris inside the micro gaps, the water inside the container will appear dingy and cloudy. But once you reduce the presence of debris around the implant posts, the water will begin to look clean and clear.
You may want to perform the cleaning of your implant posts every day for the best results. If you feel pain or discomfort at any time from using the flosser, stop and contact your dental provider for advice and care. Sometimes, the gum tissue around the implant posts can be extra sensitive or tender until your mouth heals.
If you want to learn more about managing or caring for your dental implants after placement, contact your dental provider for additional information and tips.