Many adults lose their teeth due to trauma or disease. For them, dental implants can serve as an effective tooth replacement option. Implants are synthetic tooth roots that help anchor artificial teeth or crowns. Their purpose is to restore the functionality of your mouth and improve your smile.
Contrary to popular belief, dental implant surgery is safe with very few known complications. But like any other procedure, it takes a lot of pre-operative planning. Your final treatment will vary based on the health of your teeth and how many implants you’ll need. Still, the broad strokes remain the same.
If you’re looking to get yourself a fresh set of dental implants, you will do well to understand what goes on before, during, and after the procedure. Let’s dive in.
How to Get Ready for Dental Implants
The obvious first step to dental implant surgery is knowing that you need implants. Usually, dentists recommend implants when the patient has:
- A missing tooth or multiple missing teeth
- Loose dentures or partials
- An infected tooth that needs removal
- A loose bridge
- Sunken facial features
Since tooth replacement requires one or multiple surgical procedures, you’ll need to go through a thorough evaluation. For starters, the dental implant dentist will examine your mouth to assess the shape and condition of your bone structure. Doing this will allow them to determine where each implant should go.
At this stage, you should also tell your doctor about any underlying medical conditions, so they can factor them into your treatment plan.
What Happens During Surgery
Usually, dental implant surgery is performed in phases. These include:
- Removing the damaged tooth
- Preparing the jawbone
- Placing the implant
- Allowing the bone to grow and heal
- Replacing the abutment
- Placing the artificial tooth
Once your dentist decides on dental implant surgery, they’ll take a few impressions of your jaw and teeth. This may be followed by one or several tooth extractions (only if you need them).
In case you’ve been missing teeth for a while, or if you had a tooth removed, you’ll probably require a bone graft. Bone grafting will ensure you have a decent foundation for your dental implant. Dental implant surgery can only happen when you’ve fully recovered from the bone graft, which can take several months.
Finally, the dentist will schedule the implant procedure, where they’ll surgically insert the implant into your bone. Here, they may or may not submerge the implant in your gums, based on what’s right for you.
The Aftermath of Dental Implant Surgery
You may think that the surgery ends inside the operating room, but you’ll be wrong. In fact, a lot of the work happens post-op. You’ll need a proper aftercare regime to ensure that the implant bonds with your mouth effectively.
What Goes on in the First 24 Hours
The first 24 hours after dental implant surgery are critical. The surgical site is bound to be extremely sensitive, so it’s best if you avoid touching the incision.
You’ll likely experience quite a bit of swelling and bleeding in this initial phase. Your oral surgeon will prescribe some pain medication to help you manage the pain. Besides, you can also use cold therapy to keep the inflammation in check.
Also, remember that you have an open wound inside your mouth. Unless you’re diligent about hygiene, you may get a nasty infection. Always rinse your mouth after every meal to prevent debris and bacteria build-up.
What Happens Next?
In the first 24 hours after dental implant surgery, you may still experience some pain and bleeding. These symptoms should disappear on their own. And, in case they don’t, it may be due to the following reasons.
- Inadequate blood supply to the surgical site
- Underlying autoimmune diseases
- An undetected infection
- Allergic reactions
- Damage in the tissue or nerves
Whatever the case, reach out to your dental implant dentist right away. They’ll recommend the best course of action for you moving forward.
What Food Should You Eat
Needless to say, diet is a major part of any dental surgery aftercare regime. But there are some strict dos and don’ts in this regard. Let’s look at what they are.
- Eat nutrient-rich soft foods like applesauce and mashed potatoes for the first few days post-surgery.
- Ensure the food is at room temperature. Hot or cold foods can shock your wound and induce bleeding.
- Avoid eating hard, sticky, or chewy foods.
- Steer clear of popcorn, chips, and nuts, as they can get lodged in the incision site.
- Do not consume alcohol during the recovery period. Alcohol can irritate the wound and increase swelling.
- Spicy foods can also irritate the surgical site.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying that dental implant surgery can change your life for the better. Once you know what to expect, you’ll be able to prepare yourself and walk the road to recovery. Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into what goes on throughout the entire procedure.
Need dental implants? Look no further than Claremont Dental Arts. With our background in restorative surgery, we can help you get back your full smile trouble-free. Call us to know more or book an appointment today!