Dental implants have revolutionized the way in which teeth that are damaged or decayed and fall out or require extraction can be replaced. Instead of a bridge that is attached to existing healthy teeth, or a denture that is secured with adhesive, dental implants have an artificial root, created from a titanium post that is anchored into the jaw bone through a process called osseointegration. This is when the bone heals back around the implanted post, which has been inserted into it via the gum tissue. Osseointegration ensures that dental implants are permanent and offer superior stability and security without placing any pressure on natural healthy teeth.
The process itself takes place in two parts. During the first, impressions and images of your mouth are taken which will be used to create your custom-designed crowns, which will form the visible element of your new teeth. X-rays will also be used to plan the placement of your implant posts and these will be inserted and left for osseointegration to take place. During this time, you will be fitted with a temporary restoration. Once osseointegration has occurred, you will be able to return to see your dental implant surgeon who will attach your final crowns to your implanted posts.
As you may have guessed, the process to receive dental implants is invasive and requires a great deal of preparation, both on your part and by your chosen dental implant surgeon. You will also need to make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time to recover and recuperate. To help ensure that you get the very best outcome from your procedure, we have put together a list of important pre and post-surgery do’s and don’ts.
Before your dental implant surgery…
Do stop smoking. Smoking is bad news for any medical procedure including dental implants. Smoking increases your risk of complications and slows down your rate of healing, which may make the entire treatment plan take longer than necessary. It also increases your risk of gum disease which could put your new implants at risk. Quit at least six weeks before your dental implant surgery, and if you really must start again, wait until your entire treatment is complete.
Do stay on top of your oral health. Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. It will also help to keep your implants in great condition and prevent you from developing gum disease which could cause gum recession, bone deterioration and implant failure.
Don’t be shy to ask questions about your procedure. Knowledge is power and being prepared by learning what to expect from your dental implant process will help you to feel calm and reassured and put you in the best position for taking care of your new implants. If you have any questions before your procedure is the best time to ask them.
Don’t forget to think about what you are going to eat after the procedure. Placing dental implants is a surgical process and your mouth will almost certainly feel sore and swollen afterward for at least a few days or more. This can make eating difficult to be prepared by ensuring you have soft foods that are healthy and nutritious but still easy to eat. Think yogurts, fruit smoothies, soups, mashed potato, and soft veg and of course, ice cream!
After your dental implant surgery…
Do follow the advice of your surgeon. The single most important thing that you can do after your dental implants are placed is to follow the advice given to you by your surgeon. This will include how to care for your teeth, what you can/can’t eat, any medications you may need to take and what you should do if you are concerned.
Do take pain relief if you need it. There is a good chance that you will be in some discomfort for the first few days after your dental implants have been placed. Over the counter pain relief is usually sufficient to make patients comfortable, but prescription pain medications may be given if necessary. Be sure not to wait until your discomfort becomes unbearable as being in pain can slow the healing process down. Take your medications as directed.
Don’t neglect your oral health. If your mouth and gums are swollen and you are in pain, it is easy to overlook your oral hygiene. However, it is important that you follow the cleaning instructions given to you by your dentist and get back to a proper brushing and flossing routine as soon as you can. This will minimize plaque build-up and other issues that will affect the function of your implants in the long run.
Don’t wait to speak to your dental implant surgeon if you are concerned. Your dental implant surgeon is as invested in the successful outcome of your procedure as you are. Don’t delay in speaking to a professional if you are experiencing any issues or concern. The sooner you speak to them, the sooner the problem can be resolved, and you can get on with a smooth and hopefully straightforward recovery.
For more information about dental implants, or to schedule a consultation to see if you are a suitable candidate for this effective and successful solution for replacing missing teeth, don’t hesitate to make contact with our friendly and knowledgeable dental implant experts at our Wesley Chapel and Tampa, Florida clinics.