While the thought of undergoing dental implant surgery may seem a little scary, because it is meticulously planned by a team of dental experts utilising advanced dental technologies, it can actually be regarded as a minor surgery that is relatively quick and easy.
That said, it’s understandable that you would want to know what to expect after dental implant surgery.
No two patients are the same and each case is a little different which is why Dr Akinwande will discuss more fully what your unique case may involve. Meanwhile, we’re going to answer some of the frequently asked questions and concerns so you have a better idea of what to expect following implant surgery.
So, here goes ….
Like with any surgery, you are likely to feel a little drowsy, especially if you had dental sedation and because you will still be feeling the effects of the anaesthesia. This is why patients are asked to bring someone along with them that can drive them home.
There is also likely to be some bleeding and you will be asked to bite down on a piece of gauze for several minutes until the bleeding stops. While you won’t have felt any pain during the implant surgery, once the numbness of your mouth has worn off, it’s likely to feel a little tender and sore.
In the case of a single straightforward dental implant, some patients can return to work right away provided they don’t have a job that involves dashing around. However, patients are advised to take it easy on the day of surgery or even take a couple of days off work simply to rest and recuperate.
The most important thing after any type of oral surgery and dental implants are no different, is to do everything in your power to avoid infection. Although you shouldn’t brush your teeth for the first 24 hours after surgery, we recommend rinsing your mouth periodically throughout the day with warm saltwater. This helps keep infection at bay and also helps to reduce any swelling
Your dentist may have prescribed a course of antibiotics to help keep your mouth free from infection and it’s important to complete the course. If you’re suffering any discomfort then this can usually be eased with over the counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen.
With regards to food and drink, it’s best to avoid anything that’s overly hot or cold. Instead on the day of the surgery stick to tepid beverages and soft food such as scrambled eggs, mashed potato, soup and yoghurt.
It’s likely that by day or 2 or 3, you may notice some facial swelling or bruising. Don.t worry it’s perfectly normal and is nature’s way of healing. A cold compress can be used on the outside of the face around the mouth and jaw to help bring out any swelling. Then use a combination and hot compresses to help the symptoms subside.
At this time, you can also start introducing slighter firmer foods using your comfort levels as a guide. Just take care to eat on the opposite of the mouth to where the surgery was performed.
Recovery periods vary from one individual to another but typically with just one or 2 simple dental implants recovery should only take a day or two. If you had a bone graft and needed multiple implants then the recovery period would be longer – a week or two. Other factors to consider are your general health and age.
It’s best to refrain from any strenuous activity for the first 48 hours as this can cause pain, bleeding and swelling. Try not to bend or lift and wait for 3 days before starting any general exercise such as walking or jogging.
Patients are asked to quit smoking throughout the entire dental implant procedure which can take up to 9 months and sometimes longer. Smoking is bad for dental implants and can slow down the healing process (when the bone fuses with the implant) and in some cases, can prevent it from occurring at all. Since the process known as osseointegration is key to implant success, anyone tempted to smoke is taking a huge risk. Smoking also increases the build-up of bacterial plaque on the teeth which ultimately can lead to gum disease and cause an implant to fail.
It’s essential throughout the healing phase to attend regular dental checks to monitor that osseointegration is occurring and progressing well. It can take between 4 to 6 months after dental implant surgery until our dentist is satisfied that the finishing dental crown can now be placed on the implant.
Implants look, feel and act like natural teeth so you can care for them in the same way with daily brushing and flossing combined with regular dental check-ups and cleans. It’s particularly important not to neglect your gums since this will have a detrimental effect on the strength of the supporting bone holding the implants in place.
So, there you have it ….
What to expect after dental implant surgery.
If you’d like to know whether dental implants are right for you, or need further information, then why not call Chesterfield Dentistry on (314) 469 6429 or schedule a FREE implant consultation online.