Getting dental implants requires some special care and attention to your teeth. While getting new dental implants is often less invasive than having teeth pulled and getting dentures, it is still a major event for your mouth. Dental implant surgery is often used to replace teeth that are missing or damaged with an artificial tooth and roots. Correctly caring for your dental implants ensures that you will be able to enjoy them for many years.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
You can have a variety of different implant types: a single tooth replacement or even a row of teeth. There are two parts to each new dental implant: the post that is anchored into your jaw and the replacement tooth. The replacement tooth is semi-permanently anchored to the titanium post once the bone has healed around the post. While bridgework and other dental repairs can slip and move around, the deep anchor of the titanium implant into your bone assures that you will have a fixed location on which to place your replacement tooth.
A whilet he process can take multiple visits and healing occurs over a period of several months, once a dental implant is stable you should have no further problems from them. Patients must be willing to commit to the lifestyle changes that will be required, such as eliminating cigarettes or other forms of tobacco. Adequately preparing for your dental implant surgery can help you reduce the risk of infection, too.
The First 48 Hours After Surgery
The first 24 hours after your surgery will include some discomfort and swelling, as dental implants do cause trauma to the gums and bone around the implant site. You’ll want to stay as still as possible for the first 8-12 hours while biting on the provided sponges to help stop any bleeding. Swelling can be reduced by alternating an ice pack on your face every 15 minutes as needed, and taking the prescribed medication is crucial to ensure that you don’t have an infection and to reduce overall pain levels. Eating and drinking should only include soft foods that are moderate in temperature (no extreme hot or cold foods), and it’s important to keep from rinsing your mouth for at least the first 24 hours. After that time, rinse your mouth gently with half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water instead of a vigorous brushing of your teeth.
Caring for Your Implants as You Heal
The healing process goes on for quite some time — from six weeks to nine months — and will take some adjustment as you see whether hot or cold foods negatively affect your teeth and cause pain. After only a few weeks, the soreness should subside and patients should be able to return to their routine of brushing, flossing and rinsing their mouth using traditional methods. Regular dental visits during this period will help increase the chance of success and ensure that your dental implants are healing properly.
At each stage of the healing process, it’s important to keep your dentist informed of any challenges that you may be experiencing with your new dental implants. At Shallowford Family Dental Group, we are always available to answer questions about your dental implants or other dental concerns. Contact us today at 423-892-4477 or learn more about the services that we offer online.