Dental implants may be the greatest dental innovation of the past 50 years. They are titanium metal cylinders surgically positioned in the jawbone to replace the roots of teeth that have been lost to dental disease or trauma.
After the implant integrates with the bone in which it is embedded, it has greater strength than even that of the natural tooth it replaces. Thus, it becomes a solid support for a crown, bridge, or other type of replacement tooth.
Dr. Clint Newman and Dr. Scott Harris of Gulch Dental Studio routinely restore dental implants for their patients at their Nashville, TN practice. They know that proper dental implant aftercare is key to successful healing, and you might like to know more about it, as well.
Immediately after Surgery
After you leave the surgeon's office with your new implant in place, what can you expect? And what is expected of you?
The implant surgeon and staff will give you specific instructions, but there are a few general guidelines you might want to know ahead of time.
- If you elect to be sedated for the surgery, you will need to have someone take you to the appointment, drive you home, and stay with you for a few hours.
- After the surgery, go home, take it easy, and avoid vigorous exercise for 24 to 48 hours. It is a good idea to keep your head elevated with an extra pillow while resting.
- Apply an ice pack as soon as possible and bite on some gauze or a teabag for the first hour or two. By that time, the bleeding should have stopped. Keep the ice pack alternately on for a few minutes and off for a few minutes for the first 12 hours.
- Do not disturb the surgical area. Avoid drinking with a straw, rinse very gently, and keep food away from it. Confine your diet to liquids and soft foods for the first 24 hours.
- You may experience some discomfort and swelling, so take your prescribed or over-the-counter medications as directed, especially any antibiotics you may have been prescribed.
- If you wear a partial or denture, refrain from using it for a few days, if possible. If you are unsure, ask the doctor.
- Keeping your entire mouth clean throughout the healing process is important. Brush the surgical area gently at first and continue to refrain from smoking until healing is complete. If the doctor prescribes a mouth rinse, such as PeridexÒor other chlorhexidine rinse, be sure and use it as directed.
- If you have questions or if you experience undue swelling, prolonged bleeding, or severe pain at any time after surgery, notify your surgeon.
The most critical period is immediately after implant placement, but the days and weeks to follow can also be important.
- Continue to keep the implant site clean with brushing and rinsing and refrain from smoking. If you wear a prosthesis that covers the implant site, wear it as little as possible, so as not to disturb the surgical area.
- Be sure to attend any scheduled follow-up appointments. It is important for the doctor to monitor healing closely and identify, as soon as possible, any possible issues that might arise.
- Pay attention to the surgical area and let the doctor know if anything does not look or feel quite right.
Let Us Know How We Can Help You
Patients wanting to know more about dental implant aftercare, or about any of the other services we provide here at Gulch Dental Studio, are encouraged to contact us. No matter what your needs are, we can help. Give us a call today at (615) 490-0597 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.