Although the surgery required to fit your dental implants is usually straight-forward, it’s still a surgery. So there will definitely be things you can and cannot do immediately afterwards.

Cleaning your dental implant is the best thing you can do to make sure they have a long lifespan – maybe even as long as yours. This is especially important in the days following the surgery if you want to avoid infection. Although there isn’t much difference between cleaning implants and natural teeth: brush, floss and feel free to use mouthwash regularly, there are still a few things you should know.

The first 48 hours.

These hours are the most important because symptoms are most pronounced during this time frame. Make sure you keep pressure (firm but gentle) on the gauze packs for at least an hour after surgery. Don’t change the gauze unless you’re bleeding heavily. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, switch gauzes every 30 minutes. Be prepared for symptoms like: oozing, persistent bleeding, swelling and pain. Don’t be alarmed – they are signs that your body is healing. You can help smoothen the recovery by letting the surgical areas be, brushing with a very gentle toothbrush and rinsing with salt water 2-3 times a day (after the first 24 hours have passed).

There is no “best” toothbrush.

Don’t waste your time wondering what toothbrush to use – there’s no huge difference between sonic, electric or manual toothbrushes when it comes to effectiveness. The most important thing is what the brush feels like on your implant and how easy it is to use. By the way, even though the toothbrush isn’t important, the bristles are: make sure you only use brushes with super soft bristles.

Ask your dentist about the floss.

There are so many kinds of floss out there – and so many advertisements claiming each kind is the best kind for you – that it can get pretty overwhelming. Chances are, your dentist will recommend unwaxed tape or a floss specifically for your implants to make sure the tissue surrounding your teeth is protected. But they might also tell you to go with a floss threader. The best way is to just ask directly. Find your closest dentist here.

Try an oral irrigator and a stimulator.

They’re more commonly known as water flossers and they really do help with reducing plaque and inflammation. You ideally want a water flosser with a non-metal tip. Use it 1-2 times a day and supplement it with a non-alcoholic, antimicrobial rinse.

A stimulator, on the other hand, encourages the growth of healthy gum tissue – crucial when it comes to maintaining implants. Try and get a rubber-tipped one because they’re a lot more gentle on the gums.

Go to the professionals.

No matter how carefully you clean your implants at home, it’s essential that you get your implants professionally cleaned at regular intervals. A professional will thoroughly clean the threads of the implant, the tissue that surrounds it, and your natural teeth. It also gives them a chance to examine the condition and alignment of your implants. When you first get your implants, you’ll have to visit your dentist frequently for several months. With time, you can bring it down to the usual bi-annual visits.