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DENTAL IMPLANT AFTERCARE
Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screw-like posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. Like any surgery dental implant aftercare is essential for a quick recovery. Dental implant surgery can offer a welcome alternative to dentures or bridgework that doesn’t fit well.
How dental implant surgery is performed depends on the type of implant and the condition of your jawbone. But all dental implant surgery occurs in stages and may involve several procedures. The major benefit of implants is solid support for your new teeth — a process that requires the bone to heal tightly around the implant. Because this healing requires time, the process can take many months.
Dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone, where they serve as the roots of missing teeth. Because the titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone, the implants won’t slip, make noise or cause bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. And the materials can’t decay like your own teeth that support regular bridgework can.
In general, dental implants may be right for you if you:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have a jawbone that’s reached full growth
- Have an adequate bone to secure the implants or are able to have a bone graft
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Don’t have health conditions that will affect bone healing
- Are unable or unwilling to wear dentures
- Want to improve your speech
- Are willing to commit several months to the process
Like any surgery, dental implant surgery poses some health risks. Problems are rare, though, and when they do occur they’re usually minor and easily treated. Risks include:
- Infection at the implant site
- Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
- Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
- Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
Do NOT eat anything until the anesthesia wears off, as you might bite your lips, cheek, or tongue and cause damage. You will probably have some discomfort when the anesthesia wears off; take your non-aspirin pain medication(s) as directed, whether it is prescribed or over-the-counter.
An antibiotic may have been prescribed to prevent or minimize infection. Please take the antibiotics as instructed until all tablets / pills are finished.
Slight swelling of the operated area is not unusual. Even bruising and chapped lips may occur.
- A reusable ice bag or a frozen vegetable bag, wrapped in a soft towel, may be applied to the area of surgery to help minimize the swelling of your face. Alternating 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off will usually be adequate during the first 24-48 hours after surgery.
Keeping your head elevated above your heart will also help. One to two days after surgery, moist heat will help resolve minor swelling. Major swelling should be reported to the doctor at once.
You may experience some tooth sensitivity after surgery, especially to cold. Sensitivity usually decreases within several weeks after surgery and can be minimized by keeping the area as free of plaque as possible.
If the sensitivity is extreme, contact the doctor for recommendations or medications to relieve the discomfort.
Minor bleeding, such as a pinkish tinge to your saliva, may occur during the first 48 hours following surgery. Avoid extremely hot foods for the rest of the day and do NOT rinse out your mouth, as these will often prolong the bleeding. If bleeding continues, apply light pressure to the area with a moistened gauze or moistened tea bag. Keep in place for 20-30 minutes without looking to see if bleeding has stopped. (NO PEEKING!) If further bleeding occurs or increases, please call our office as soon as possible to notify the doctor and receive further instructions. Avoid any strenuous physical activity for the next 2-3 days to prevent or minimize severe bleeding.
Please follow a soft food diet, taking care to avoid the surgical area(s) when chewing. Chew on the opposite side and do NOT bite into food if the procedure was done in the front of the mouth. Avoid sticky, hard (such as ice cubes, nuts, popcorn, chips), brittle, spicy, highly seasoned, or acidic foods in your diet. Foods such as soups, pasta, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese etc. are best. Be sure to maintain adequate nutrition and drink plenty of fluids.
Avoid alcohol (even beer and wine) and smoking until after your post-operative appointment. Smoking is not advised during the 7-14 days following surgery.
Maintain normal oral hygiene measures in the areas of your mouth not affected by the surgery. In areas where there is dressing, lightly brush only the biting surfaces of the teeth. After you have eaten or you have snacked, please use lukewarm salt water rinse 4-6X a day; 30 seconds of swooshing with each use. Vigorous rinsing should be avoided!Starting tomorrow,
- Please use Periogard, Peridex, or Chlorhexidine mouth rinse 2X (morning and night) a day; 30 seconds of swooshing with each use.
If you are instructed to wear a clear stent or an upper denture that covers up the roof of the mouth, do NOT REMOVE it for 24 hours NO MATTER WHAT! It may pool with blood, but leave it in there and just swoosh with Chlorhexidine rinse or lukewarm salt water.
- After 24 hours you are to wear it as much as you please, especially while you eat for your comfort.
- Please do NOT play with the surgery area with your fingers or tongue.
- Do NOT pull down the lip or cheek to look at the area and do not have someone else look at the area. Just LEAVE IT ALONE!
- Do NOT use a drinking straw, as the suction may dislodge the blood clot.
- Avoid extremely hot foods. Cold foods such as ice cream or shake are OK as long as you use a spoon.
Try to relax and practice the best oral hygiene possible and your healing should progress well.
Please note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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