Dental implant surgery is one of the best, most long-lasting ways to restore missing teeth.
So, you’ve recently lost one or more permanent teeth. Don’t worry—it’s not the end of the world. It’s understandable that you’d feel mortified by that visible gap in your smile. Or bothered by your diminished ability to chew your food properly. And that hole in your mouth just feels strange, doesn’t it?
But you don’t have to wonder whether eating will ever feel the same way it used to. You don’t have to feel painfully self-conscious in public, and there’s no need to frequently refuse attending social gatherings.
Dental implants are small, metal frame devices that dentists attach to your jawbone to serve as anchors for new teeth to adhere to.
Aside from restoring your teeth, dental implants will help:
- Build your self-confidence, as the implants look like your original teeth
- Preserve the rest of your teeth’s structure, as they won’t move or slip to fill the gap(s).
- You eat and speak normally, with no discomfort.
There’s really no reason not to undergo a dental implant procedure, so if you’re considering one, here are a few things you should know.
1. You need to be a good candidate for implant surgery
As promising as implant surgery can be for many people, it’s not for everyone. Your dentist will first need to make sure that both your gums and the bones in your mouth are healthy and strong enough to accommodate the metal frames that will support your new teeth.
If you’ve had any gum or bone problems in the past, it’s a good idea to speak with your dentist about it. If implant surgery ends up not being the best treatment plan for you, your dentist can discuss other options you’ll be happy with.
2. Implant surgery may require a temporary change in your diet
So you’ve just had surgery and you have a brand new smile—hooray! But careful, you’re not out of the woods quite yet. To prevent post-operative complications and ensure that your dental implants last you for as long as possible, it’s important that you take several precautions.
One of the most critical is that you watch what you eat, especially for the first few weeks after the procedure. Because the anchors placed into your mouth might cause some initial swelling or irritation, you should stick to soft foods like yogurt and soups for the first two weeks. This should give the surgical area enough time to heal properly.
Other easy meal options you might consider include mashed potatoes, applesauce, mashed bananas, and scrambled eggs. And don’t be afraid to ask your dentist for any personal recommendations! Surely, he or she must know good recipes you can try for a soft diet. You shouldn’t have to starve or put up with boring food while recovering.
In terms of beverages, you should definitely avoid hot fluids and carbonated drinks for the first 48 hours after surgery.
3. Post-surgery oral hygiene is essential
After your surgery, you need to keep your gums and teeth healthy to avoid infections. A great way to do this is by brushing your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush. But note, however, that you should brush very gently for the first 24 hours after surgery, and rinse with warm salt water.
Here are some other precautions you should take:
- Use warm water and salt (one teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water) for the first week after surgery to rinse your mouth at least five times a day, including before and after meals. Your gums will be tender after surgery, so rinse your mouth gently to avoid bleeding.
- Always brush or rinse your mouth after each meal to prevent food residue from getting stuck between your implants. It’s best to keep your implants clear of food particles until the surgical site is completely healed.
- Avoid consuming overly hot food or fluids for a few days after surgery. This will allow the area to heal properly.
- Avoid smoking for the first few weeks post-operation until your gums are fully healed. Smoking can cause the operated area to become infected or inflamed.
4. Keep in mind that as you heal…
- It’s best to avoid any vigorous physical activity, especially within the first two days of having a dental implant procedure.
- You may experience bad breath. To help minimize the odor, brush your teeth with gentle, “sweeping” motions using a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum injury.
- You might notice the formation of a hard, white tissue around the surgical area. This is normal and indicates that your gums are healing nicely.
5. You may experience some pain and discomfort after surgery
It’s common to experience some discomfort or pain after your implant surgery. How much will depend on your individual pain threshold, which varies from person to person.
Any discomfort you feel may be a result of your mouth getting used to your new implants. On average, pain after dental implants lasts for around 10 days. There might also be swelling after the surgery, but this lasts for only 3-5 days on average.
After your dental implant procedure, you’ll probably be prescribed some pain medications, such as Ibuprofen or Advil. If your pain doesn’t subside within two weeks, consult your dentist.
Dental implant surgery with Dr. Wohlers
Dr. Jennifer Wohlers and the team at Wohlers Family Dentistry are passionate about delivering you the highest possible dental care. Wohlers Family Dentistry offers restorative dental procedures (including dental implant surgery), as well as cosmetic, preventive, and general dental services to keep your oral health in tip-top shape. Treatments at the clinic are affordable, with convenient payment channels and payments without insurance available.
The decision to get dental implants is an important step. The team at Wohlers Family Dentistry understands that every good surgery begins with excellent communication between dentist and patient. Every member of the team is committed to educating and communicating effectively with you each step of the way to make your surgery as comfortable as possible.