So you’ve decided to improve your smile and overall oral condition with dental implants! That’s a great decision, and we bet you’re curious to know about what to expect once you’re through with the procedure. You’ve come to the right place to find out.
For Starters …
You’re probably aware that getting dental implants involves several steps and the procedure spans over a few weeks, depending on the treatment plan. The reason why this procedure takes time is because dentists need to make sure patients have sufficient bone density in their jawbone before starting the procedure. The mouth and jawbone should be able to support the implants for the longest time possible.
Rest assured that dental implant surgery is safe and if performed by an experienced dentist, it won’t cause complications. However, you may experience temporary side effects, which are perfectly treatable through medicines and precautions.
One of the most common side effects is pain. While the anesthesia used during the surgery will numb the pain for a while after the procedure, you will experience it for a few days. You will be prescribed medicines to manage the pain.
Prominent Side Effects Immediately after the Procedure
Typically, the most conspicuous side effects of undergoing dental implant surgery will be felt in the first two days, and peak on the third day. However, they need not be a cause of concern as they’re experienced by the majority of patients. The side effects include:
a. Discomfort in the Jaw and Gums
After the surgery, the patient may experience pain in the jaws and gums as the effect of the anesthesia starts to wear off. This is because the tissues have been moved to accommodate the dental implant. However, this soreness can be managed with the help of painkillers, which your dentist will prescribe.
b. Bruises on the Jaw, Gums, and Neck
Sometimes, bruises may appear on the jaw, gums and neck due to the installation of the implants. Also, you may see some discoloration in these areas. But, it will progressively lessen over a couple of weeks post the implants.
c. Inflammation in Jaw, Gums, and Cheeks
Your jaw, gums and cheeks will swell after the implant surgery. This typically lasts for a week, but you can control its severity and longevity by applying ice packs as often as possible. Hold the ice pack over the affected area for 15 minutes at a time with 15-minutes breaks between applications. Do this for 48 hours. Keeping your head elevated when sleeping and sitting also helps.
The good news is you will start to look and feel much better after a couple of weeks post-surgery. You will also be able to resume all your usual activities with almost no difficulty. If the side-effects persist beyond two weeks, it is best to consult your local dentist as soon as possible. Only a local dentist will be able to administer timely treatment if the situation gets worse. So if you live in Chicago, seek treatment from dentists in Chicago itself.
Immediate Dental Implant Aftercare
Once you’re through with the dental implant procedure, you can do the following to heal better and faster:
- Keep the gauze pack in your mouth for an hour after the surgery. Bite on them softly to stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues, replace the gauze every 30 minutes.
- Get ample rest for the healing to occur flawlessly. Being too active and doing hard physical labor will increase the bleeding.
- Slight bleeding in the first 48 hours of the surgery isn’t unheard of. However, if bleeding increases, contact your dentist.
- The surgical site may experience swelling as well. Use ice packs and take pain medication to improve the condition.
Osseointegration and Long-Term Implant Care
In the months following the surgery, the implants will fuse with the surrounding bone tissue. This process is called osseointegration. This is a part of the healing course, which is why you need to take certain precautions to its successful completion.
As time passes, your implants may need periodic replacement/maintenance to keep your teeth, gums and jawbone in good shape. Also, you will need to take the following precautions to enable quick healing of the affected site after the surgery:
- As far as possible, avoid chewing on or around the implants when you eat.
- Eat soft foods and steer clear of hot food items. Also avoid hard eatables such as nuts, seeds and raw items which can worsen the situation of the surgical site.
- It is best not to sip liquids from a straw as doing so can cause dry socket, which can be more painful.
- Stay away from smoking, drinking alcohol, sugary drinks and coffee, and using sharp objects between teeth and gums.
- Avoid jaw clenching and teeth grinding as these are known to fracture teeth.
- Drink plenty of water to stay healthy. It also helps keep the mouth clean and moist.
- Maintaining dental hygiene may be hard during this time, but it is crucial. Brush your teeth gently twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid the surgical site for a few days. Floss carefully to prevent gum diseases from arising around the surgical site and ruining your implants.
Remember, dental implants can last long, even a lifetime, if you take proper care of them. Do follow dentist-recommended and the above precautionary measures for best results.
It is perfectly normal to feel anxious when thinking about how the dental implant procedure may affect your wellbeing. Being oblivious to the facts will only make your anxiety worse and will probably deter you from getting the much-needed and timely dental treatment. Dental implants surgery may not be a quick procedure, but it is often necessary to preserve your oral health and achieve a winning smile. The above pointers should help alleviate your apprehensions and encourage you to get the treatment your mouth needs.