Although it is important to keep your teeth clean after dental implant surgery, you may have to change your brushing habits for a couple of days. For example, once you've had an implant post inserted in your jaw, you must take extra care to protect the wound site and let it heal.
Brushing During the First Few Post-Surgery Days
The gum around an implant site will be tender and swollen immediately after surgery and typically for a few days afterwards. Even gentle brushing may make it hurt and maybe even bleed a little. To protect the wound site, it's best not to brush that area of your mouth for a day or two, following your dentist's advice. This allows the wound to seal up; it also gives it time for any swelling to go down.
However, it is important to brush your other teeth normally after surgery. Apart from keeping them clean, this also keeps your overall oral health at a good level. This may help your wound heal more effectively with less risk of complications, such as infections.
After a day or so, you may be able to start brushing the wound site. Bear in mind that it may still hurt when you brush, and you may have to negotiate around stitches, so you should be gentle to start with. It may help to use a soft toothbrush on the affected area. Brushing will get easier, as the gum heals and hardens.
Other Ways to Keep a Wound Site Clean
Your dentist may recommend other ways to help the wound site heal for a period of time after surgery. These solutions may also help keep the site clean while you can't brush. For example, your dentist may ask you to do some or all of the following:
- Rinse your mouth out with water after eating to remove stray food particles.
- Use a special mouthwash a few times a day to help wash out the site and keep it clean.
- Use a warm salt and water solution as a mouthwash to help the site heal.
It's also a good idea to avoid using the wound area to eat for a day or so. This minimises pain – chewing on the affected area may hurt initially – and bleeding. It also helps keep food particles out of the wound.
Tip: According to the Dental Care Network, it is best to eat soft food for a day or so after implant surgery. Avoid hot food or drinks, as these may make the wound area sore.