Dental Implants 101: Before, During, And After
Everyone deserves to have a beautiful smile. However, losing a tooth due to an injury or a dental condition like tooth decay can prevent that. For one, it can influence one’s confidence and self-esteem. Tooth loss can also cause discomfort when chewing and affect your speech; this is where getting dental implants comes in.
What Is A Dental Implant Procedure?
Dental implant procedures are an effective solution for people with missing teeth. Aside from filling in the gap, it also mimics the look and function of natural teeth, allowing you to smile confidently and restore your chewing capacity.
In this procedure, your dentist will surgically place the implants to replace the missing tooth. A dental implant comprises three parts- the implant body, which will be attached to your jawbone, the abutment that will support the artificial teeth; and the crown.
If you’re considering getting dental implants to restore your teeth, it’s always best to consult your dentist for better guidance. Furthermore, this article looks into what to expect before, during, and after getting the procedure. Read on to learn more.
What Happens Before Dental Implants
Dental implant surgery is generally an outpatient procedure that’ll take more than one session, depending on your case, with healing stages in between. However, unlike other dental treatments that can be done anytime, such as urgent extractions, you’ll need to schedule getting dental implants from your preferred dental clinic since preparations have to be done.
To give you some ideas, here’s what usually happens before getting dental implants:
- Consultation With Your Dentist
Patients undergo a comprehensive dental check-up and consultation with their dentist first. In this step, the dental professional will do the necessary tests to assess your condition and determine if dental implants are the best option for your case. Aside from a visual exam, they’ll also take x-rays and 3D images of your teeth and check your dental records to get an overview of your oral health.
As they evaluate your case and develop your treatment plan, your dentist will also assess your overall health to determine if you’re fit for the procedure. For example, if you’re allergic to some medications or dental materials, they’ll adjust your treatment plan and use and prescribe alternatives. Your dentist will also check if your jawbone can handle the implant. If not, they may need to prepare your jaw or perform reshaping to ensure the implants sit successfully.
- Prepare For After-Care
After your surgery, you may not have the energy to buy your after-care medicine or any supplies you need. You could still be in pain or feel dizzy or disoriented due to the anaesthesia. That’s why purchasing your prescriptions before your scheduled dental implant surgery is best. You can ask your doctor to get an early prescription of what you should take after your surgery.
Moreover, you can also use the time to stock up on food supplies. While soft foods are usually recommended, you can ask your dentist what food you can or should not have during recovery. This way, you can prepare ahead and avoid the hassle of purchasing necessities last minute or after the procedure.
- Seek Personal Assistance
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home afterward. However, as mentioned, you will likely feel tired or dizzy after. And in some cases, you may be unable to drive back home or resume your usual routine. As such, until you recover fully, try to look for someone to help and accompany you after your surgery.
You can ask your partner, sibling, or friend to drive you home after the procedure and provide you with any home assistance.
- Follow Proper Preparations
Aside from the preparations above, preparing your body before oral surgery is also recommended. Here are some ways you can do so:
- Your body should be smoke and nicotine-free at least six weeks before your surgery.
- Avoid drinking coffee at least a week before the surgery. Instead, fill yourself with plenty of water during this period.
- Skip the alcohol three days before the procedure, as drinking alcohol can affect the integration of the implant.
- If you’re taking certain medicines or supplements, advise your dentist immediately. They may recommend you stop taking them, as some medications can affect the surgery.
For better guidance on the dos and don’ts before your dental implant surgery, consult your dentist to be extra specific with your preparation.
What Happens During Dental Implants
It’s common to feel anxious about your dental implant surgery. But to help ease your worries away, here’s a look at what to expect during the procedure:
- Anaesthesia administration: You’ll receive local anaesthesia to numb the surgical site. Some dentists can also offer sedation under general anaesthesia if you feel extra nervous. However, if you opt for the latter, you must fast for 12 hours before the procedure.
- Damaged tooth extraction: If you still have damaged teeth, your dentist will extract them for your implants. Your dentist will place a synthetic bone to support the implant. The synthetic bone can take two to six months to heal, but it usually depends on how your body will accept the new foreign object inside your body.
- Implant placement: During the procedure, your dentist will drill into your jawbone to insert the titanium post or implant body. Your dentist will place a healing cap over the implant to let the soft and hard tissues heal properly. In some cases, your dentist may also provide you with a temporary denture to keep the aesthetics of your smile while still in recovery, which may take four to six months.
- Abutment placement: As mentioned, getting dental implants are usually performed in stages. So, once your jawbone is healed and ready, you’ll go back to your dentist to attach the dental implant abutment to the post. Since this is also an outpatient procedure, you can go home afterward. Your dentist may schedule your next visit after two weeks once the gums are completely healed.
- Crown placement: The last step of dental implant surgery is choosing and placing your artificial teeth.
The entire process of getting dental implants can be lengthy. And depending on your situation, you’ll need multiple visits to the dental clinic. The process can also take longer if you add a synthetic bone or have jawbone complications.
What Happens After Dental Implants
Getting dental implants is a minimally invasive procedure, but it’ll still require some time for the surgical site to heal. And while healing and recovery vary from one patient to another, most experience swelling of gums and pain or discomfort in the implant area.
To help you during your recovery phase, here are some tips worth noting after dental implant surgery:
- Once the sedation comes off, you will likely feel discomfort on the surgical site. You can take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist. You can also apply a cold compress to your cheeks where the implant site is to numb the area.
- You may expect light bleeding after the procedure. However, if you notice excessive bleeding, inform your dentist immediately.
- To avoid adding pressure on the surgical site, your dentist may restrict you from eating certain foods, such as popcorn or seeded fruits, which can get stuck in your implants. You may also be advised to avoid hot and spicy foods since the temperature can affect the healing. For your diet, eat soft food and avoid chewing on the implant site to reduce discomfort.
- While recovering, practice good oral hygiene to protect your teeth and implant and keep them clean. Schedule dental visits regularly to ensure the proper functioning of your implant.
The healing process can take months, but with proper care, you can manage possible discomfort you may experience. Moreover, by practicing good hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly, you can keep your implants in their best shape.=
Getting dental implants is a good solution to replacing your missing tooth. Aside from restoring your ability to chew, it mimics the look of natural teeth, allowing you to beam those pearly whites confidently.
To help you prepare for dental implant surgery, this post has outlined what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. Furthermore, visit and consult your dentist for better guidance.