Dentistry has come a long way in the last few decades, and dental implant surgery is one of the most exciting kinds of progress in the field. Dental implants are a huge step forward in dental prosthetics, allowing us to replace lost or missing teeth with an implant that looks and functions just like the real thing. While dental implants aren’t the best choice for everybody, they are a good option for many people who need to replace a tooth.
While dental implants are growing in popularity, many people still have questions about what exactly happens during dental implant surgery and what they can expect afterward. Here we’re going to take a look at what to expect after dental impact surgery and some things you can do to help with aftercare and positive recovery.
What Happens During Dental Implant Surgery?
Let’s start by taking a brief look at what happens during dental implant surgery. A dental implant is generally installed over several visits, due to the nature of the surgery involved. The first step is preparing the site by implanting a titanium screw base into the jaw bone where the implant will go. When that base has healed in place, the prosthetic tooth is attached to it. After the prosthetic is in place, it functions and feels just like a natural tooth, and requires the same care in the form of effective brushing and flossing and a good, healthy diet.
What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
While dental implants are a huge step forward in dental prosthetics, they are still the result of a surgical procedure and thus require some recovery time. While your dentist will explain the particulars of your individual case and how you can best care for your implant, there are a few general tips as to dental implant surgery aftercare and recovery:
- Following all dental surgical procedures, rest is important to recovery. If you were treated with an anesthetic or sedative you may feel drowsy. Certainly, your body will want to take it easy and heal. Plan on spending a day or two resting. Keep your head propped up when lying down to help promote healing and protect the implant site.
- Follow all instructions given to you by your dentist–they know what you need and they’re familiar with your situation. They’ll likely tell you to avoid brushing the affected area in a day or two following the dental implant surgery while cleaning your other teeth normally. They may also tell you to avoid mouthwash and use saline solution or saltwater instead to help promote healing and keep the implant site clean.
- Use painkillers and ice packs as instructed by your dentist in the wake of your dental implant surgery. Swelling of the face and mouth aren’t unusual, and cold compresses and OTC painkillers can help.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol use, drinking through straws/sucking, or spitting. Any of these can disrupt the healing at the dental implant site and leave it vulnerable to infection.
- Keep an eye out for signs of infection or complications. These include fever, pain and swelling that increase rather than decrease, signs of infection, or difficulty swallowing/breathing. If you notice any of these, contact your dentist immediately.
Dental implant surgery can be a wonderful tool for helping you look and feel your best. Dental implants offer a lifetime of use with little care and can help you resume a full range of normal activities. By taking care of your implant in the wake of dental implant surgery, you’re setting yourself (and your implant!) up for success.