For over four decades, dental implants have transformed the smiles and changed the lives of patients worldwide. Dental implants are natural-looking false teeth that are designed to last a lifetime, making them a permanent alternative to dentures and dental bridges. While this tooth replacement solution certainly is a groundbreaking one, it also includes a multi-step process that all patients must undergo to get the results they desire.
At Smile Design Dental of Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and Hallandale Beach, FL, our dental implant dentists put each patient through a thorough consultation process to ensure they are excellent candidates for dental implants. From there, the doctors develop a custom care plan which includes the selected dental implant system and any preliminary procedures, if necessary, as well as implant placement and recovery planning.
Once patients are first introduced to this advanced tooth replacement system, many are eager to get started right away. Although most are excellent candidates for dental implants, all patients should be aware of each facet of this procedure before committing. Remember, dental implant placement is surgery; it requires patients to follow a strict recovery routine to guarantee the healthiest, speediest results possible.
Whether you are considering dental implants for your smile, or you have already scheduled your dental implant surgery, education is key! To learn more about this stellar tooth replacement solution, as well as the recovery process that comes with it, read on.
What Are Dental Implants?
Before we dive into the topic of dental implant surgery recovery, let us answer a question that may be on your mind: What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots implanted into the jaw by a licensed, specially trained oral surgeon. Contrary to popular belief, dental implants do not resemble teeth, but are rather metal posts that are placed just below the gum line. Once healed, dental implants are topped with dental crowns that are custom-shaped and custom-shaded to complement the patient’s appearance.
Dentists recommend dental implants to their patients because they serve as long-term alternatives to bridges and dentures. Here are some of their most compelling benefits:
- Long-lasting. When properly maintained, dental implants are designed to last for life!
- No dietary restrictions. Unlike bridges and dentures, dental implants come with absolutely NO dietary restrictions. Eat the foods you love with confidence.
- Fixed fit. Dental implants are fixed, which means they remain in the mouth at all times and function just like natural teeth. Thus, they require NO daily cleansing and removal like dentures and bridges do.
- Improved oral health. Tooth loss patients regularly struggle with pain, crowding, and even bone loss.
- Dental implants preserve the mouth’s oral structure, guaranteeing a healthy smile well into the future.
There are a variety of dental implants systems on the market, from single dental implants to high-tech treatment options that can be performed in as little as one day. Your dentist will provide you with the best options for you based on your oral health, lifestyle, and budget.
5 Tips For A Speedy & Comfortable Recovery Process
As mentioned, dental implant placement is surgery. Though today’s dentists use special technologies and techniques to promote a rapid healing process, it is the responsibility of the patient to ensure that all prescribed after-care is followed.
Getting to know the recovery process prior to dental implant surgery is the best way to be prepared for your big day. Study up on these 5 best practices and soon you’ll be showing off your new, improved, permanent smile!
1. Be Prepared For Some Discomfort
As with any surgery, you can expect to experience some discomfort in the days that follow. Generally speaking, most patients encounter facial swelling and bruising, pain at the surgical site, and even minor bleeding. Generally, these symptoms go away on their own in the days following the procedure. If you are still experiencing noticeable pain, bleeding, or swelling that is worsening after 2-3 days, call your dentist’s office right away.
Tip: To reduce normal amounts of swelling, sit with your head up for 8-12 hours per day and apply an ice or cold pack to the side of your cheek, just over the surgery site. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, or until swelling dissipates.
2. Follow A Post-Surgery Diet
While dental implants patients need not abide by dietary restrictions after the healing process has finished, they must follow a strict diet in the days following the surgery.
For the first 1-2 days post-surgery, patients should drink plenty of liquids and eat only soft foods, like oatmeal, milkshakes, smoothies, and cottage cheese. On the third day, patients can experiment with more substantial foods that are easy to chew, such as poached eggs, macaroni and cheese, and cooked noodles.
When drinking liquids, do NOT use straws as this could cause more bleeding that could delay your healing time. Also, be sure to avoid any and all spicy or acidic foods that may aggravate the affected area.
Tip: Most patients are ready to return to their normal diet in as little as a week after surgery but consult your doctor before trying any foods that aren’t on the above list.
3. Get Plenty Of Rest
A new set of teeth may put a well-deserved spring in your step, but that doesn’t mean your smile is ready for the world. Most dentists recommend that patients rest for the duration of the day following their surgery. You can begin doing light activities in the 2-3 days that follow.
Tip: Don’t push yourself – even if you’re feeling fine! Getting plenty of rest can help speed up your healing process.
4. Take Only Prescribed Medications
No two patients are alike, which is why it is the job of the dentist to prescribe the safe and effective amount of medication. Prior to the surgery, be sure to tell your dentist what medications you currently take and if you are allergic to any medicines.
Tip: Take all medications as directed by your dentist. If you have any questions about them, consult with your pharmacist.
5. Follow All Oral Care Instructions
Any dentist would want you to follow a healthy oral care routine, but yours will look a little bit different in the days after your surgery. To ensure that all areas heal properly, your dentist may suggest you refrain from rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth for the first 24 hours.
Tip: Once you have been cleared to rinse your mouth yet again, add ½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Salt has been shown to speed up healing and lessen pain.
Now that you know all about the dental implant recovery process, we hope that you feel empowered to give yourself the gift of a new, permanent smile! If you have any questions about our dental implants or any other of our restorative services, give our South Florida dental offices a call today!