How to Care for a New Dental Implant

If you have recently gotten a dental implant or are just considering the option, here are some ways to care for the new implant once the surgery and dental implant have been completed.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is the insertion of a titanium implant into the jaw with the purpose of being a connection site for artificial teeth. This is a good alternative if you are missing teeth or are unable to use dentures or bridgework.


Immediately post-surgery, there are certain expected side effects of the procedure. Swelling, bruising, pain at the surgical site, stiff jaw, sore throat and minor bleeding are all normal and anticipated, but if any symptom worsens in the time after the surgery, the oral surgeon will need to be contacted. To assist with the swelling and bruising, ice can be applied to the jaw for short periods of time. Painkillers can be used to control the pain as well as avoiding agitation at the surgical site. Depending on if the surgeon used self-dissolving stitches or not, another visit will shortly be needed for the removal of the stitches.

Rest and avoiding vigorous exercise are important to the healing process. Eating soft foods, especially in the initial hours and days post-surgery, will help prevent discomfort. Hot drinks should also be avoided, and cold drinks should be consumed instead. Following meals, or at least three to four times a day, you should rinse your mouth with salt water. If the surgeon used self-dissolving stitches, they should eventually fall away. If not, a follow-up appointment will be needed for their removal.

Dental care

Similar to normal teeth, the dental implant, artificial teeth and gums need to be kept clean of all bacteria and plaque. Failure to do so can result in an infection and possible removal of the new implant. Regular and recurring dental checkups should be made for professional cleaning of the implant. Cleaning at home can be done with regular brushing and flossing, but there are also specific dental implant cleaning tools available.

Interdental brush

These brushes are designed to get in spaces between the teeth much like floss, but they are far gentler and easier to use than regular dental floss.

Water flossers

The water flosser device sprays streams of water in pulses, which assists in removing plaque and food in an efficient way around and behind the teeth. This is also a good alternative if regular flossing is difficult or painful.

Gum stimulators

The dental implant requires healthy gums. Gum stimulators can assist in this, as the rubber tips of the stimulator remove plaque along the gum line while gently massaging the gums.


Dental implants require frequent and consistent care in order to be maintained and avoid any complications. Staying in contact with your oral surgeon and following their after-care plans will keep a dental implant healthy for years to come.

Request an appointment here: or call Smile by Design Dental Group at (949) 336-3404 for an appointment in our Irvine office.

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