Dental Implants: 5 Helpful Tips for Preparation and Recovery

So you’ve chosen to opt for dental implants rather than bridges or dentures? Congratulations! Your decision will enhance your smile for years to come. Say goodbye to the pains and annoyances that accompany a life with dentures and embrace the ease of a new set of natural feeling teeth.

But in order to restore your smile, you’ll have to get those dental implants, well, implanted. Don’t let the procedure discourage you! Undergoing the outpatient surgery that dental implants require can take many months from start to finish, but the long-term benefits of implants make the process worthwhile.

1. Make an Appointment With Your Dentist

In order to be approved for the surgery, you must first undergo a comprehensive dental exam. Your dentist will take many factors into account including your jaw health and number of remaining healthy teeth. Ask as many questions that come to mind so you feel as comfortable as possible through the entirety of your procedure and recovery.

2. Develop A Treatment Plan

Discuss your health openly with your oral surgeon. Make sure to bring up any pre-existing heart or other health conditions that might necessitate antibiotics. You’ll want to have these on hand before you go in for any procedure so that you can choose to rest post-surgery rather than immediately take a trip to the pharmacy.

Before the procedure, you’ll have to make a decision regarding anesthetics. Along with the local anesthetic, you might want to choose to be fully sedated. Sedation will make the experience a lot more comfortable. Some sedatives require fasting the night before, so be sure to follow instructions.

You’ll also want to offer your doctor a list of all existing medications in case these might interfere with your recovery. Provide as much knowledge as possible, even if it feels superfluous. It is always best to be safe than sorry when undergoing any type of medical procedure.

3. Educate Yourself

You should provide yourself with as much information as you provide your oral surgeon. It never hurts to be prepared, especially if you’re feeling nervous or overwhelmed by your upcoming procedure. Implant surgery can take place in one stage or multiple stages. Familiarize yourself with the steps so you can rest assured that it’s all going according to plan. The process goes as follows:
– Damaged tooth/teeth are removed

– Your jawbone will be prepared for surgery. This may require bone grafting if your jawbone is too soft or not thick enough for the implant. Chewing, which you’ll be doing a lot of once you’ve successfully gotten your implants, puts a great deal of pressure on your jawbone. If your jaw is too soft to support the implant, surgery wouldn’t be worth it.

– A healing period for your jawbone will commence over several months as to properly heal before your implants are posted in your jaw. The length of this healing period varies depending on your jaw’s health and how well you take care of your mouth post-extraction and grafting.

– Finally, your surgeon will place the abutment, which extends from the metal implant post. Your artificial tooth/teeth will attach to this abutment. A final healing period follows this procedure and, before you know it, you’ll be chewing, smiling and laughing again as usual.

4. Know When to Contact Your Oral Surgeon

During your recovery, you can expect some discomfort. While swelling of your gums and face, bruising around your jaw, some pain and minor bleeding are all normal, contact your surgeon if these symptoms worsen in the days following your surgery. In some cases, your surgeon can provide you with stronger pain medications that will combat any discomfort.
Don’t be stubborn about heading to the doctor if symptoms and pain persist. It’s always better to go sooner rather than later, even if your worries turn out to be harmless.

5. Avoid Certain Activities

Post-surgery boredom and restlessness come with the territory here, but don’t let these frustrations interfere with the healing process. Avoid certain activities like exercise and smoking that can put a strain on the body.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, even just drinking through straws can be harmful since it creates a suction-like effect in the mouth that can cause pain. Continue eating soft foods for 10 to 14 days post surgery (just not through that straw). For your convenience, your oral surgeon will typically use stitches that will dissolve on their own after about 10 days.

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