Dental Implants are a great alternative to artificial dentures after the loss of any adult teeth. They offer a natural-looking appearance and function in the same way as a natural tooth. But, to make sure that your implants are successful and prolong their life, there are a few things you can do to care for your teeth before and after surgery.
1. Introduction to Dental Implants
Dental implants are designed to replace the root and the crown of a tooth if you have had to have a tooth extracted due to severe tooth decay, wear, or trauma. Dental implants help to support the remaining teeth in your jaw, avoiding misalignment and give your face a more aesthetic appearance. Implants can also provide security for a bridge or dentures.
During surgery, the jaw is cleaned and prepped before the titanium implant is placed into the jawbone. If there is insufficient bone, grafting techniques are used. In cases where multiple teeth need to be replaced, several posts may be inserted along the jaw. The site will take about 3-6 months to heal before the crown can be added.
2. Things to Consider Before Implant Surgery
Special care and attention before you undergo dental implant surgery can increase the likelihood of success and reduce your recovery period. To prepare for surgery:
Ensure that you tell your doctor about any medications that you may be taking as you may need to stop or alter your prescription before surgery.
Ask your doctor about any painkillers or antibiotics that you can take before surgery to reduce the risk in infection and alleviate pain.
Minimize any stress you have about surgery by talking to your doctor about sedation or anaesthetic treatment that may be available. You can also try meditation techniques or visualizations to calm yourself before surgery.
3. What to Expect After Implant Surgery
It is normal to feel some discomfort after surgery as your mouth heals and becomes used to the implant. You may also experience some swelling of the gums and face, light bleeding at the wound site, and mild pain.
If any of these symptoms become worse over time, contact your doctor immediately for an appointment.
4. What Not to Do After Surgery
To help with your recovery and maximize the success of the implant, there are a few things that you should not do after dental implant surgery.
Do not do anything that could cause negative pressure inside your mouth, such as sucking on a straw or smoking. This could reopen the wound by dislodging the blood clot and cause severe bleeding.
Do not apply heat packs to your face or eat hot foods as this can increase swelling, cause infection, and delay healing.
5. Aftercare Tips to Follow at Home
Most dental implant surgeries are performed as out-patient procedures so you can have a brand-new smile with a set of same-day teeth in Essex. To aid your recovery after surgery, follow these simple aftercare tips.
Redness and bleeding are normal for up to 24 hours after surgery. If the bleeding persists after biting on the gauze for 30 minutes, or if the bleeding is excessive, call your dentist immediately.
Swelling is another common occurrence after surgery and can last up to 4 days. To minimize the swelling and alleviate pain apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time consistently for the first 24 hours.
Diet to Follow
As your mouth may feel tender after surgery, it is essential to take special care with your diet in the days following your surgery. Eat soft foods with minimal spices, or drink nutrient-dense smoothies to ensure that you are maintaining a balanced diet. Drink plenty of water and fluids to stay hydrated but avoid carbonated drinks and hot beverages.
Starting Pain Medications and Antibiotics
Your doctor may have prescribed you a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. Start taking your antibiotics the day of your surgery and continue to take them as prescribed.
If you experience discomfort, take over-the-counter pain relievers once the anaesthetic has worn off. If you suffer severe pain, contact your dentist for prescription pain relief.
Caring for Oral Hygiene
It is essential that you maintain proper oral hygiene before and after surgery. Rinse with medicated mouthwash the day before surgery and then twice again after surgery in the morning and before bed.
Use a warm saltwater rinse to wash food particles away after meals and to alleviate discomfort and prevent infection. Brushing and flossing should be done carefully with a soft bristle brush and very light motions.
Avoid Extreme Physical Activity
During your recovery period, avoid any strenuous activity that involves bending or lifting. Intense exercise and sports should also be avoided until the wound is fully healed, and the dental implant is stabilized.
Wear Prosthesis as Directed
Your dentist will give you specific instructions as to how to care for your dental prosthesis. You must follow these instructions precisely to ensure that your dental implant functions optimally and comfortably.
Dr. Adeel Ali is a London-based dental Surgeon, Mentor, Educator, and Director at Dr. Adeel Ali Implantology, with a special interest in providing Same Day Teeth using Dental Implants and All-on-4 Full Arch Implants.