Having dental implant surgery is an exciting, yet often scary, time in your life. You’re finally going to get the smile you’ve been wanting, but the procedure itself is the nerve-wracking part.
Many people realize after the surgery is over that they worked themselves up over nothing. With today’s anesthetic options, you might not even realize you’re having an invasive procedure until it’s all over with!
When you have an expert dental surgeon like Dr. Brent Lin taking care of you, the procedure is streamlined and simple. But the dental tooth implant aftercare is up to you, and this is where things can get complicated.
Knowing what to expect after your dental implant is a crucial step to a speedy recovery. Your dentist will give you some aftercare instructions when you have your procedure. However, planning ahead is the smartest way to prepare yourself.
This guide to teeth implants aftercare will teach you how to care for your dental implants after your surgery is over.
Dental Implants, In a Nutshell
If you’re getting ready to have dental implant restoration surgery, you should know a little bit about the procedure. These are a newer type of dentistry, designed to prevent individuals from needing to go with full dentures or bridges.
In a dental implant, a metal post is surgically implanted into your gums. The post is the permanent anchor to the new dental crown, which is your false tooth.
Since the implant post requires a strong jaw bone to hold it, not everyone is able to have this type of surgery. If you’ve made it this far, your dentist has evaluated your oral health and decided you’re ready and able to handle the procedure!
The next step is to decide if you’re going to have a single tooth implant or another procedure. In a single-tooth implant, your current bad tooth is extracted and the implant post is placed in the same appointment. The replacement tooth was already prepared in a prior appointment, and it is placed on the implant post after your natural tooth is removed.
Other procedures are available for people who need more than a single implant. Your dentist could recommend an implant over a full or partial denture. With this method, your dentures are secured to your mouth to avoid them accidentally falling out.
Implant hybrids are for people who have no natural teeth left but don’t want to deal with removable dentures. If this is your plan of care, a fixed implant in the form of a hybrid prosthetic is created for you. This is then anchored into your jaw and attached to your dentures. It can only be removed by a dental specialist.
The type of implant procedure you have will determine your aftercare instructions.
What to Expect After Your Implant Surgery
The actual implant placement is a simple process performed by many dentists all over the world. Because of the advances in technology and medicine, you may not have much discomfort before or after the procedure.
But it is a surgery, and even if you don’t have a lot of pain, you have to be cautious with your actions and behaviors after the procedure is over.
The prep work is done ahead of time, through x-rays and other radiology of your mouth in the dentist’s office. This information lets your dentist plan your implant placement and determine the condition of your mouth to see how to prepare your aftercare instructions.
For instance, your oral hygiene care is completely on your shoulders. This isn’t something you can hide from your dentist. Dr. Lin and any other reputable dentist can tell if your oral health habits are strong and effective or an occasional practice.
After your procedure, these oral hygiene habits will determine how long your implants last. To keep them healthy, you need to brush, floss, and care for them, as you should your natural teeth. If you do, and if the bone your implants are fitted to is healthy, they can last twenty years or longer!
Getting Ready for Your Implant Procedure
Much of the stress of having implants placed is in preparing for the procedure. Between making sure you have everything taken care of, to the mental anxiety surgery can produce, this time can be full of worry.
These tips will help you feel more prepared when you walk into your appointment for your implants:
- Let your job know you may need a day or two off of work after the surgery. It probably isn’t necessary, but rest always speeds up the healing process. Avoid making any social commitments for the first 48 hours, as well.
- Have transportation lined up so you don’t have to drive after your surgery. Most of the time, local anesthesia is used. In some cases, a stronger anesthetic will be required, which may make it harder to drive home.
- Have a pain reliever on hand at home. Your dentist may be able to call in a prescription for you ahead of time, or you can have someone pick it up for you. OTC pain relief is usually enough, but just in case, talk to your dentist before your implant appointment. He or she can recommend the right pain relief option for you.
Now that you’ve taken all the precautions necessary, you’re ready for your procedure. The next step is knowing how to care for your implants after the surgery.
Aftercare of Implants
Caring for your implants after your procedure is a short- and long-term consideration. For the immediate 48-hours post-surgery, use these tips to get you through:
- Expect a little bleeding after the placement, especially if you are having an extraction during the implant surgery. The dentist will probably give you some gauze to bite down on for the first hour, after which, it can be removed. If you still notice bleeding, you can repeat this procedure with a clean pad.
- You’ll increase the dental implant healing time if you avoid disturbing the site for the first 24 hours. Don’t rinse your mouth or try to use your tongue or fingers to touch the implant site. Using straws, smoking, or spitting is strongly advised against. Rest and relax for the first day. This speeds up the recovery and reduces the chance of injury or exertion that causes the site to throb and bleed.
- Swelling is common after the surgery. You may notice bruising, too. Apply a wrapped ice pack to the side of the face where your implant is. Keep it there for 20 minutes, then take it off for at least ten. This will reduce the swelling for the first 24 hours.
- It’s okay to take a pain reliever, as directed. Mild discomfort is common after a dental implant surgery. Ask your dentist if you should take a painkiller after the procedure so it’s in your system before the anesthesia wears off. Be sure to only take the pain reliever as instructed. You should feel better daily after your surgery. If the pain increases instead of decreases, contact your dentist.
Aside from these tips, the only other thing you should be cautious of right after your surgery is your food and drink choices. The day of the surgery, avoid food and hot drinks. Stay hydrated with cold beverages, preferably water, and don’t use a straw.
Slowly add softer foods to your diet. Avoid seeds, crunchy foods, and anything that could get stuck in your teeth.
Long-Term Aftercare of Implants
The best way to keep your implants healthy is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Right after your surgery, don’t do anything to disturb the site. But 24 hours later, a warm saltwater rinse, used up to five times that day, can speed up healing.
Once your surgical site has healed, regular oral care can be reinstated. Brush your teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush. Rinse with mouthwash and floss daily.
Healing can be occurring beneath the surface for up to six months. The gum has to heal and the implant has to fuse into the bone. During this healing period, your dental implant stitches are also dissolving.
Your lifestyle choices will play a huge role in how successfully your healing occurs and how your implants last. Smoking is a major habit that needs to be curtailed after an implant surgery.
Smoking has nicotine in it, which reduces the flow of blood to your gum tissues. It also decreases the immune system’s response to the injury, preventing healing as it should be. Over the long run, smoking diminished the health of your gum tissue and bones. If you are smoking within the six months it can take for the implant to fully heal, the odds of the implant failing increase substantially.
Other factors that can diminish an implant’s success include poor diet and nutrition, bad oral hygiene habits, and too much alcohol.
Call Dr. Lin for Your Implants
Of course, the number one factor to consider if you want a successful, minimally invasive dental implant surgery is your dentist. Dr. Brent Lin is an expert in his field, performing multiple implant procedures all the time.
Before you book an implant surgery with anyone else, schedule a consultation with Dr. Lin. You need a dental surgeon and staff that you feel comfortable with. At Dr. Lin’s office, we’re here to help you get the smile you want without the stress!