What to Expect After Getting Dental Implants
When you lose one or more teeth, we will firstly need to replace the tooth roots with dental implants. Made from titanium, the implants behave like natural roots by fusing with your jawbone, creating a foundation to attach the artificial teeth or ‘crowns’. There is usually a period of healing lasting from six weeks to six months. The upper jaw usually takes a little longer, due to softer bone. The bone in the lower jaw can be denser, which speeds up the process.
Getting Ready for Implants
For some patients, dental implant surgery begins with removing the damaged tooth. This is a common dental procedure, but can take a few weeks to recover from before moving forward with treatment. It’s imperative to follow your post-extraction instructions carefully to prevent complications like dry socket or infection.
For others, it might begin with bone grafting or bone regeneration procedures to strengthen the jawbone. A strong, stable bone in the area of the implant is necessary to support the force of biting and chewing with the eventual replacement tooth. These procedures rely on bone healing, so can take six to eight weeks for full recovery.
Dental Implant Surgery
Once you’re ready for dental implant placement, the longest part of the process begins. Dr Golestani will make a small cut in your gums to reach the jawbone, then drill a hole and place a titanium implant in it, to stand in for the missing tooth roots. This is done under local anaesthetic and whilst this does not affect your ability to drive you should always clear your schedule on the day of this treatment. We ask our patients to rest for the remainder of the day.
The recovery time from this part of the procedure can take several months. As the process of bone healing goes on, the implant will fuse with the healing bone around it and essentially become part of your jaw. Dr Golestani will arrange review appointments during this time to keep an eye on the implant site and healing. Titanium is used as the material for dental implants specifically because of its ability to permanently bond with bone tissue. This means much less noise and slippage compared to dentures, and also improves on the stability and lifetime of the restoration work compared to fixed bridges.
If your missing tooth is in the front of your mouth, you may have a temporary replacement tooth placed during this healing process, for appearances.
This is a kind of partial temporary denture, and can be removed for cleaning and at night.
After the dental implant has healed, there’s often one more surgical step — placing a small attachment, called an abutment or collar, on the top of the implant. This provides a base for the crown or replacement tooth to attach when it’s ready. The abutment usually requires local anaesthetic.
For some patients, the abutment might be attached during the original implant procedure, but that means the abutment will be visible above the gumline throughout the long healing time. Many patients don’t like how that looks, so it’s placed later on instead. Either way, the abutment attaches to the metal post of the implant, and the gum tissue is closed around it. This requires about two weeks of healing for your gums before the final replacement tooth or teeth can be placed.
After that, impressions will be taken for the creation of your new tooth/teeth.
Finally, your implant crown will be attached to the abutments and you’ll be ready to face the world with a new smile.
It may take some time to adjust to the replacement tooth, so follow Dr Golestani’s aftercare instructions closely to ensure everything goes well.
A patient of Dental 359’s implant crown ready for insertion
Expected Side Effects
As with any dental surgery, you may have some discomfort during healing from one or all stages of the implant process. Side effects that are normal and expected include swelling around the gums and in your face, slight bruising, pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding. It’s usually recommended to avoid hard foods during healing, and Dr Golestani may prescribe pain medication or antibiotics after surgery to help you heal.
If at any time during the healing periods you find that these issues get worse or are causing too much pain, get in touch with our practice right away to make sure the problems don’t persist.
Caring for Your Implants
There are things you can do to increase the success rate of dental implants. The failure rate is very low, but there is a significant correlation between smoking and tobacco use and dental implant failure. If you smoke, quit before having this procedure for the best chance at success.
You also can take steps to care well for your teeth and implants after surgery. Keep your teeth, gums and dental work clean by regularly brushing and flossing. There are interdental brushes that can help you clean around and between dental implants and your teeth for a deeper cleaning.
You also should check in with your Dentist regularly to maintain the health of your teeth and implants. And, of course, avoid activities that can crack or damage your teeth or implants, like opening bottles with your teeth, chewing on hard candy or ice, or grinding your teeth at night. If the last is a problem for you, speak with Dr Golestani or Dr De Mel for possible treatments, like a night guard.
The best guideline to follow post-implants is to communicate any problems right away to your dentist, and don’t hesitate to call if you have any concerns or questions about recovery and post-op care.
Recovery after dental implant surgery
The recovery process is a crucial part of ensuring that the dental implant integrates with the bone. Patients must allow their mouths to heal so that the implants can do their job when it comes time.
Initial 24 hours
Following implant placement, it is important to take extra care of your mouth during the first 24 hours. The jaw, gums and teeth will all most likely be sore and tender. It is important that a not to touch or disturb the area where the implants were placed. A person may experience a lot of swelling, bleeding and even pain during the first 24 hours after the surgery. Typically, pain relief will be prescribed that can be used immediately after the surgery to help manage the pain. Using an ice pack or cold compress can help with the swelling and pain too. As the wound heals it is crucial that patients keep their mouths extremely clean. If the teeth or gums aren’t kept clean then they are likely to cause bacteria to form which, could cause an infection within the wound.
2-3 days after
Once the initial 24 hours has passed, patients may still experience pain, minor bleeding and even some swelling. It is important to realize that these symptoms will take time to go away during the healing period.
Long Term Maintenance and Care for your Implants
Following implant surgery you will receive verbal and written post-operative instructions from one of our Dentists on how to care for your implants. To ensure successful osseointegration of the implants, it is essential that these instructions are followed stringently.
Our team will do everything that we can to ensure that the implants heal in the correct manor by reducing the chances of infection; this is achieved by providing you with a hygiene treatment prior to surgery and prescribing antibiotics after surgery, however it is the patients’ personal oral hygiene and diet that will play a major factor in the success integration of the implants.
Patients can do the following to help the implants heal:
- Avoid rinsing and touching the implanted area for the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Rinsing your mouth with lukewarm water after each meal.
- Brushing your teeth twice a day.
- Avoiding dairy products for 7 days.
- Taking calcium tablets to help prevent oedema.
- Eating a diet which contains soft food such as soups and pasta.
Post op checks up are essential following implant surgery. The first check-up is usually 7-10 days after the implant has been placed, by this time any swelling would have disappeared and any incisions made would have healed. During this appointment our Dentist may remove the stitches and assess how the implants are healing, if necessary, we will provide additional cleaning instructions.
Annual check-ups are also vital to the long-term success of the implants. At the yearly check we will examine all teeth, implants, gum and jaw bones to make sure there are no infections, diseases or decay which could jeopardize the implants and your general oral health. It is vital that patients attend their yearly check-ups as this constitutes part of their implant guarantee.
A patient of Dental 359 following implant surgery
Call our team at Dental 359 on 1 300 625 625 to arrange your dental implant consultation.