Simply put, a dental implant is a small, metal post designed to replace the natural root of a missing tooth. Dental implants help to prevent serious bone deterioration and more effectively preserve a patient’s oral health (rather than a simple tooth replacement) while simultaneously providing superior aesthetics and function. Because a dental implant is designed to act like a prosthetic tooth, it replaces the tooth all the way down to the root itself. What does this mean? Not only is a dental implant a cost-effective & functional solution, but it also helps to restore your mouth’s natural functions, including blood flow and bone stimulation.
Dental Implant Recovery
Patients who opt to move forward with a dental implant are typically eager to resume enjoying their favorite foods AND have the opportunity to smile with confidence once again.
It’s important to note that for a dental implant to be successful, it must “osseointegrate”. This means that the implant has to fuse with the surrounding bone, which can take up to 3-6 months. While the full recovery can deter some patients from proceeding with a dental implant, we’re here to help you better understand how to fully embrace the recovery process.
Here are helpful tips to help you recover efficiently after a dental implant surgery:
- Rest, Rest, Rest! In this day and age, we’re all used to being on the go constantly. We rarely take time for ourselves when we’re healthy and operating at full capacity, nevermind when we’re sick or recovering from a procedure. It’s important that you afford yourself the chance to slow down. If you avoid doing this, you may elongate or complicate your recovery process, so try to avoid strenuous activity or anything that could potentially impact the condition of your face.
- Stay Hydrated. When it comes to oral health, water is your friend. When you’re properly hydrated, your body is able to flush out toxins that could potentially impede your recovery process. Part of hydration includes not drinking caffeine or alcohol since these liquids can cause dehydration. Further, it’s best to refrain from consuming alcohol until fully recovered.
- Eat Food that is Soft and Nutritious. In the first 48 hours post-surgery, you’ll want to avoid any type of food that can irritate your incision or the surgical site; this primarily means avoiding hot and spicy foods. Instead, you’ll want to essentially consume foods that require little to no chewing so that you don’t over-work your mouth too quickly. You’ll also want to ensure you’re consuming quality foods with a high level of nutrients so as not to exacerbate the recovery process. This may include steaming vegetables or relying on smoothies and protein shakes for the short-term. If the latter, you’ll also want to avoid using a straw as that can irritate the surgical site; instead, try a spoon.
- Rinse with Salt Water. A salt water rinse is typically recommended after most oral surgeries, including dental implants. It helps to decrease the amount of bacteria inside the mouth while simultaneously soothing the incision. Depending on what your dentist recommends, a salt water rinse may be used up to 4 times per day.
- Use Ice Packs and Ice Properly. Though swelling may be minimal, some patients will experience more than others. An ice pack can help to both decrease swelling and provide pain relief. In order to prevent harming your skin, it’s best to wrap the ice pack in a towel and to ice for no longer than 20 minute periods.
In addition to these tips, you’ll also want to refrain from smoking and, of course, practice good oral hygiene. The goal is to ensure that your body heals properly so be sure to adhere to what your dentist recommends, and to ask questions when you’re unsure about any recommendation made.
At HDG, we’re expertly trained in implant treatment planning and in restoring implants. We take a comprehensive approach to dentistry and look closely at all of your concerns in order to determine what’s best for you, both financially and in regard to aligning with your dental goals.
While we do not surgically place implants in our office, some of the potential implant restorations that we can treat include: single tooth implants, implant bridges, implanted supported overdentures, and hybrid dentures.
As with any type of dental treatment, we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about a specific dental process, a type of recovery process or any other concerns you may have related to your oral health.