Post-Op Care for Dental Implants
Post-Op Care for Dental Implants
Our guidance can help patients throughout the post-operative care period for dental implants. In most cases, the process is not nearly as complicated as people believe. By following our instructions, we can help patients avoid the risk of infection or irritating the infected area.
Here at our Slidell office, we help our dental implant patients through the recovery process, ensuring they make a full and quick recovery. We can also go over proper oral hygiene to keep dental implants in proper condition. To learn more about dental implants and post-operative care, call us at (985) 570-9103 today and schedule an appointment with Chandler Goltz, DMD.
An Overview or Post-Op Care for Dental Implants
The length of recovery time for dental implants will vary per patient. In most cases, it will not take nearly as long as people assume. With good oral hygiene and specific dietary restrictions, patients can count on an efficient and comfortable recovery. Our team can suggest soft foods patients can eat to lessen the chance of irritation in the area surrounding the implant. Patients should ask about oral health techniques to apply to avoid inflaming the site as well.
We can help explain the initial and long-term recovery process, so most patients know what to expect following implant placement. Although every patient has a different experience, there are certain side effects to expect and precautions to take during post-operative care. According to Medical News Today, infection, gum recession, and a loose implant are more common problems that can develop after dental implant surgery. Patients should inform our team of any medications they are taking or chronic conditions that might affect recovery.
“With good oral hygiene and specific dietary restrictions, patients can count on an efficient and comfortable recovery.”
▣ The Recovery Process
The recovery process happens in stages, and many can make a full recovery in as little as four weeks. The patient may need to take several days off from work and physical activity during post-operative care, while the swelling and discomfort are at their worst. Most return to eating normally within two weeks, which is about the same time swelling, bleeding, and overall discomfort should start to go away.
There is little discomfort associated with dental implants, but the side effects may vary slightly for each patient. However, there are certain side effects patients can expect during post-operative care. Several of the more prominent and notable side effects include:
▣ Pain and swelling: The dentist will provide ways to minimize discomfort, but there will be some pain and gum swelling for the first few weeks of post-op care.
▣ Minor bleeding: While it is possible to keep bleeding at a tolerable level by avoiding irritation of the implant site, some occasional minor bleeding may occur.
▣ Difficulty chewing: Dietary restrictions (see below) are necessary for the first few post-op care weeks.
▣ Restricted movement: Swelling and discomfort often restrict jaw movement during the recovery process.
Most side effects are minor and go away within the first few weeks of post-op care. Talk to your dentist if more severe side effects develop.
“The recovery process happens in stages, and many can make a full recovery in as little as four weeks.”
▣ Post-op Follow-up Appointments
Your dentist should schedule one or more follow-up appointments after the day of surgery. You must attend all of these appointments. The number of appointments and the type of aftercare applied will depend on the treatment plan agreed upon by you and your provider.
Dental implants must be checked on regularly because there are so many elements to monitor. First, the dentist must check to ensure the implant is attaching to the jawbone properly and that there is no inflammation or signs of infection. Also, there is a slightly higher risk of gum disease in those with dental implants, leading to implant failure, among other problems. Your dentist will want to catch it early to prevent it from becoming a more serious issue.
“Dental implants must be checked or regularly because there are so many elements to monitor.”
▣ How to Make a Quick Recovery and Return to a Regular Routine
If patients are looking to speed up the recovery process, there are some things not to do. Do not drink through a straw as the suction could irritate the wound and slow recovery. Smoking can slow healing by depriving your body of vital oxygen needed for recovery. Other vices to avoid include caffeine and alcohol. Drink water instead because staying hydrated will speed recovery.
Besides practicing good oral hygiene, there are a few things one can do to aid in recovery. Patients can use ice packs to help reduce swelling. By day two and after, saltwater rinses will help keep bacteria away.
“Besides practicing good oral hygiene, there are a few things one can do to aid in recovery.”
▣ Lifestyle Changes
The recovery process typically involves several weeks of dietary restrictions, lifestyle, and oral hygiene changes.
▣ Dietary Restrictions
The dentist provides the patient with specific instructions on foods and drinks to avoid during recovery. Nothing the patient consumes should be extremely hot or cold. Keep in mind that oral infection risk is higher after implant placement, so limiting foods and beverages high in sugar is essential. Foods that are easy to chew can include oatmeal, eggs, soup, and mash potatoes. Drinking water throughout the day is helpful as well.
▣ Lifestyle Changes
It is natural to experience discomfort for the first few weeks of post-op care. Some patients may prefer to take a day or two off work while they recover. Most importantly, avoid activities that may result in a blow to the face (sports, weight lifting, outdoor activities) during the recovery process.
▣ Oral Hygiene Routine
As mentioned, the risk of infection is higher during recovery, so a proper oral hygiene routine is essential. Be certain to brush gently several times a day and use mouthwash regularly, along with any other specific recommendations provided by the dentist. Resources such as WebMD’s Oral Care Guide may provide useful information as well.
“Keep in mind that oral infection risk is higher after implant placement, so limiting foods and beverages high in sugar is essential.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Are regular post-op care checkups for dental implants required?
Is it safe to return to work during post-operative care?
What should I expect right after placing the dental implants?
How can I help someone else during post-op care for dental implants?
What should my oral hygiene routine be right after surgery?
Dental Implant Terminology
An abutment is a component that attaches to the dental implant so a professional can place a dental crown to provide patients with an artificial, aesthetically pleasing and fully-functional smile.
Analgesics are any number of painkillers or drugs that help to relieve pain and achieve a state known as analgesia.
Antibiotics can include a variety of antibacterial medications that treat different forms of bacterial infections.
Multiple replacement teeth that are fixed in place via attachment to dental implants, natural adjacent teeth, or a combination of the two.
▣ Bone Graft
A bone graft is a surgical procedure replacing missing bone to repair bone fractures and other issues.
Bruising can occur on the enamel of the teeth from a variety of factors including clenching the teeth, biting nails, grinding teeth at night or an infection.
Chlorhexidine is a common type of prescription mouthwash that dentists use to help patients clean their teeth.
▣ Dental Crown
A crown is an artificial tooth, usually consisting of porcelain, which covers the top of the implant to provide people with an aesthetically pleasing and fully-functional tooth.
▣ Dental Implant
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
▣ Dissolvable Stitches
Dissolvable (absorbable) stitches will close wounds or surgical openings that professionals make inside the body. These stitches will eventually break down over time without causing harm to the body.
▣ Endosteal (endosseous)
Endosteal is a type of dental implant that a professional places in the alveolar and basal bone of the mandible that transcends only one cortical plate.
▣ Eposteal (subperiosteal)
Eposteal is a type of dental implant that conforms to whichever edentulous surface of an alveolar bone is superior.
Gingiva is another term that refers to the gum tissue in the mouth that surrounds the teeth.
▣ Implant-Supported Bridge
An implant-supported bridge is a dental bridge that professionals fix in place with the use of dental implants inserted in the jaw to create a sturdy set of artificial teeth.
▣ Local Anesthetic
Local anesthetic is anesthesia that dental professionals apply to one specific spot, such as the upper/lower lip or gums.
Osseointegration is the process in which a titanium dental implant fuses with the surrounding bone over several months after an oral health professional places the implant in the jaw.
Literally “around the tooth”
Resorption is the process in which the body absorbs the calcium from the jaw since there are no tooth roots to cause the necessary stimulation and proceeds to use the calcium in other areas.
▣ Smoking and Implant Failure
Smoking can be a direct result of dental implant failure and one of the many reasons that people need to seek implant restorations.
When the gums are infected or inflamed, swelling is likely to occur. It is important to seek professional treatment to remedy swelling gums.
▣ Transosteal (transosseous)
Transosteal is a type of dental implant that includes threaded posts which penetrate the superior and inferior cortical bone plates of the jaw.