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Dental implant aftercare

Dental implants can last as long as natural teeth, as long as they’re cared for properly. To make sure you get the most out of your implant and to ensure it heals successfully, we’ve put together the following aftercare advice.

Immediate aftercare

After your implant has been placed, you’ll be able to go home as soon as you feel ready. You’ll need to rest until the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off, which might take several hours. Most implants are placed under local anaesthetic, but if you have a general anaesthetic or sedation, you won’t be able to drive and you’ll need someone to come and take you home.

You should be able to return to your normal routine within a day of treatment. Most people will be able to go back to work, but you should avoid anything too strenuous, such as intense exercise.

Here are some key do’s and don’ts while your implant is healing:

During the healing period

Some swelling or bruising may occur in the area around the implant in the first 72 hours. This is perfectly normal and can be minimised by applying a small ice pack to the area for 10 minutes every hour.

Remember to use the mouthwash your dentist has recommended three to four times a day, which will help with the healing process. If your dentist has given you antibiotics, you must remember to take them.

After three days, any swelling should have gone down and the area around the implant should be well on the way to healing. If you’ve had any stitches, your dentist will schedule an appointment with you to have them removed about seven to 10 days after your implant has been placed.

You’ll then need to wait for your implant to bond with your jawbone before you have your permanent tooth or teeth fitted. This could take between four and eight months, but will vary from person to person. You’ll need to attend regular check-ups to make sure your implant is healing well.

When you should contact your dentist

Very occasionally the unexpected may happen, such as an adverse reaction to anaesthetic, infection or excessive bleeding; and there’s a very slight chance that the bone around your implant doesn’t heal and so the implant becomes loose. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Get in touch with your Bupa dentist if you experience:

  • Throbbing pain on the day of the operation
  • A numbness where the implant is more than 12 hours after the operation
  • Pain or swelling around the implant more than 10 days after the operation
  • Bleeding that won’t stop after 30 minutes, even after biting down on a damp gauze
  • The implant feels loose

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t worry, but do contact your dentist as soon as possible.

Long-term aftercare

Your implant can last a lifetime with the right care. You can keep your implant clean in the same way you do with your natural teeth. Some top tips include:

  • Using a soft toothbrush or electric toothbrush to clean your teeth twice a day for two minutes
  • Using interdental brushes or floss daily. Your dentist might recommend specific cleaning aids designed to clean around implants
  • Brushing on the inside, outside and on top of your teeth where you chew
  • Changing your toothbrush regularly
  • Attending regular appointments with a dental hygienist for a deep clean
  • Avoiding smoking. If you currently smoke, your dentist will advise you give up before the procedure

*Image taken before COVID-19

If you don’t look after your implant properly, there’s a risk of developing gum disease, which can lead to bone loss and ultimately, your implant failing.

Find out more

We'd like to advise patients that many images and videos used throughout our website were taken and produced before the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore social distancing rules and extra levels of PPE are not displayed.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England & Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

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