Dental implants have become more and more common in the last 20 years. In this time, more information has come about regarding the importance of proper care to make sure that they dental implant procedure is a success.
Dental implants are posts made of titanium that are placed into the jawbone by a qualified professional. Once the post is in place, it will fuse with the bone through osseointegration.
After the fusing is complete, the dentist will reopen the gums to place an attachment on the post. The attachment protrudes from the gum line and provides the foundation for the tooth crown which is made by a restorative dentist or prosthodontist.
Dental implant patients typically have four options when it comes to being sedated during this procedure.
- Local anesthesia. This is the type of anesthesia that is most common in dental procedures. It consists of a localized painkiller injected at the site and is often used in tooth fillings.
- Nitrous oxide. Often referred to as laughing gas, this mix of oxide and oxygen is given with a sedative like Valium, which the patient would take an hour prior to the surgery.
- Intravenous sedation. An IV type of sedation calms the patient; however it takes quite a while to wear off and often causes nausea. Due to this side effect, the must fast for eight hours prior to the surgery.
- General anesthesia. This option puts the patient completely to sleep and is the strongest option offered. As with IV sedation, general anesthesia can cause nausea and the patient needs to fast prior. Both IV sedation and general anesthesia require the patient to be driven home by someone else after the surgery.
Dental Implants Post-operative Care Advice
After the implant surgery, the patient will have bleeding at the site. He or she should bite down on a pad of gauze for the first day following the surgery. The gauze should be kept in the mouth for up to an hour each time.
The bleeding may be controlled by applying a wet black tea bad rather than gauze. The tannins contained in black tea are responsible for controlling persistent bleeding.
Make sure to keep the head elevated at a level that is above the heart, even while you are sleeping. Also, avoid hot food and liquid and exertion to help control the bleeding and help along healing.
Using an ice pack placed on the outside of the face up to 30 minutes at a time can help minimize swelling and bleeding. This can be done for the first few days following the dental implant surgery.
It is imperative that the surgery patient not smoke for at least five days after the dental implant surgery as smoke can delay the healing process. Antibiotics should be taken as indicated by the surgeon.
After 24 hours, the patient can resume gently brushing the non-affected teeth. Saltwater rinses can also be used to cleanse the area starting from the day after the surgery.
Dental Implants After-surgery Diet
The first seven days after the implant surgery, the patient should eat soft foods such as yogurt, baby food, ice cream or apple sauce. Stay away from hot food and drinks because they can eat away at the blood clots that protect the open wound.
When drinking liquids, use a straw and avoid drinking straight from the cup. The straw will help liquid stay away from the blood clot and could dislodge it. Avoid all carbonated drinks for the first week after surgery too.
To reduce inflammation and pain, the patient can take ibuprofen after the surgery. The surgeon may also prescribe a narcotic for the pain but nausea can be a side effect.
The surgeon would have placed dissolvable sutures on the surgery site. They should begin to fall out anywhere after the third day following the surgery. They can be left along and should fall out on their own during the healing process. Stitches that do not come out can easily be removed by the surgeon a couple weeks after the surgery.
The End of the Implant Process
The patient may have a temporary crown put in place to fill the space while the area heals. In the end, the patient will have a prosthesis that is either removable, fixed or a combination of both that will attach to the dental implant.
Like any other surgery, the surgery for a dental implant can have complications. Luckily, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons report a success rate of 95% and most implants can for 20 or more years.