Keeping your teeth healthy and strong is important, however, it is not always possible to retain your natural teeth. Sometimes they become full of infection, for example, or are too injured or damaged to save. When this happens, you will need to look into finding a replacement tooth that will look natural and also work well. Do not forget that we use our teeth for vital things like speaking and eating – you might be surprised at what a big difference a missing tooth can make in these activities! Do not worry, however, because there are certainly options available to help you find the replacement tooth to best suit your needs and your lifestyle. Today’s replacement teeth are functional as well as looking great aesthetically. This is especially true if you decide to go with a dental implant as your replacement option.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are replacement teeth that look and function just like your natural teeth. This makes them great for replacement teeth as you will not lose any functionality in your daily life. Other options – dentures, for example – can actually make it more difficult to do things like eat food or speak with a loved one. Dental implants, on the other hand, are the go-to choice for teeth replacements specifically because they function so naturally. The biggest deterrent to getting a dental implant for many people is the surgery, but you should not be put off by it. The process is not that complicated, and the aftercare is also not overly involved.
What can I expect after dental implant surgery?
During your dental implant surgery, we will insert a metal post into your mouth, usually in the socket where your natural tooth used to sit. This post acts as the “root system” of your new tooth, anchoring it into place and allowing it to function as a natural tooth does. The surgery itself should not be an overly long affair, however, there are some things you should keep in mind once you get home from our office.
First of all, do not be alarmed if your wound bleeds! It is normal to experience things like bleeding and oozing. In order to help stop the flow of blood, you should put a clean gauze back directly over the wound, and then bite down firmly (but slowly and gently). Maintain this pressure for 45 minutes to around an hour depending upon how you are feeling. It is this kind of steady pressure that will help stop the bleeding. After the time is up, you can carefully replace the gauze and repeat the procedure as needed until the bleeding has stopped. If you complete this process several times and your bleeding has not slowed, please contact our offices for more information.
Dental implant surgery commonly causes a certain amount of swelling to occur. In order to help reduce the swelling as much as possible, you should apply ice on your cheek over the area where you received surgery. Keep ice on the wound for 20 minutes, and then remove it for five minutes. Do this as often as possible for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Once the local anesthetic starts to wear off, you should begin to take your pain medication. This might be around three to four hours after surgery. Take it as prescribed or as directed, depending upon whether you have a prescription medication or are taking OTC painkillers.
Diet and Oral Hygiene
Finally, it is important to drink a lot of fluids and keep your food very soft (or, preferably, liquid) for the first 24 hours after surgery. Do not use a straw or eat hot food or drink hot beverages. Do not rinse your mouth strongly or disturb your wound.
If you have any questions or concerns after your surgery, please don’t hesitate to call us at (520) 809-7703 for help!