Dental Implants

DentalImplantsWhen patients lose a tooth or teeth, dental implants are an ideal option for patients with good general oral health. Implants look and feel like your own teeth and can last a lifetime if given the proper placement and maintenance.

Why are Implants Better than Dentures and Bridges?

There are other routes a patient can take to replace missing teeth, including dentures and bridges; however, dental implants are a much better solution for many reasons.

  • Adjacent teeth do not have to be altered to support an implant, such as with bridgework. This is significant for your overall oral health by leaving more of your own teeth untouched. With a tooth-supported fixed bridge, the adjacent teeth are ground down to support the fixed bridge.
  • Dental implants are integrated into the structure of your bone, thus preserving your bone and preventing any further bone loss that can sometimes be attributed to bridgework and dentures.
  • Dental implants function just as your natural teeth do, offering you more comfort and stability than conventional dentures.

Placement of Dental Implants

Dental implants aid in replacing a single tooth, several teeth or even all of your teeth. The implant itself looks like a screw and is placed into the jaw. Over the period of 2-6 months, the implant and jawbone bond together to provide an anchor for the crown. An abutment is used as an extension to complete the foundation for the new tooth to be attached.

Sometimes several teeth need to be replaced, and implant-supported bridges are a prime option as opposed to fixed bridges or removable partial dentures. The bone is better preserved with implant-supported bridges as it replaces some of your tooth roots that had been previously removed.

Replacing all of your teeth is also possible with implant-supported full bridges or implant-supported dentures. Patients are able to preserve their natural bite with implants and achieve more comfort and stability than with conventional dentures.

To view a before and after photo of Dental Implants, click here.

Post-Op Instructions for Implant(s)

Recovery

Rest with your head elevated when you arrive at home after the procedure. We ask that you please limit your physical activity and keep moving to a minimum for the first 24 hours.

Ice Application

For the first 4-5 hours after the surgery, we recommend placing an ice bag to your face in 20-minute intervals. This will help reduce facial swelling. If needed, you can use an ice bag for 24-hours.

Medication Instructions

Please take anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to prevent inflammation, swelling, and pain. For the next 4-5 days, we suggest taking 400mg-800mg of Ibuprofen every six hours to reduce swelling and pain and quicken healing. DO NOT take more than 2400mg in a 24-hour period. If you experience excessive pain or discomfort, take the narcotic that has been prescribed to you. If you do not have one, please call our office and the doctor will call in a prescription to your pharmacy. Please take as directed along with the NSAID. If you’ve been prescribed an antibiotic, please take as directed. We ask that you finish the entire dosage. If any of the medications are causing you extreme nausea, itching, or a rash; discontinue its use and call our office immediately.

If You Experience Bleeding

For the next few days following your surgery, some minor oozing may occur and is no cause for alarm. Gently rinse your mouth out with iced water or iced tea (tea contains tannic acid which can help stop the bleeding). We ask that you refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol as these activities will interfere with blood clotting and healing of the implant. If your bleeding continues, apply pressure to the implant site by pinching the area with a moistened piece of gauze for 20 minutes. If your bleeding is moderate to heavy and has continued for a few hours without stopping, please call our office immediately.

Eating Guidelines

When you arrive home after surgery, you may have something very soft to eat or cold to drink. In the evening on the day of your surgery, we recommend eating a soft, bland meal as this is usually the best way to help you feel better. For the first week, please do not eat anything hard or crunchy. Remember, you are to avoid chewing on the side with the dental implant for 8 weeks.

Caring for Your Mouth

We strongly request that you continue your regular oral hygiene habits on all other areas of your mouth. Please use an antiseptic mouthwash at least once in the morning and once at night before bed until your next appointment with our office. You can also swab the dental implant area with a cotton swab dipped in an antiseptic mouthwash every morning, every night before bed, and after eating and drinking. Please do not brush or floss the dental implant area for the 1st week after surgery as this will hinder the healing process. Also for the next month, please DO NOT use an irrigation tool, such as a Water Pick.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office.

Post-Implant Care

Although proper oral hygiene is always recommended for maintaining good dental health, it is especially important when a patient has received a dental implant. Bacteria can attack sensitive areas in the mouth when teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, thus causing gums to swell and jawbones to gradually recede. Recession of the jawbone will weaken implants and eventually make it necessary for the implant to be removed. Patients are advised to visit their dentists at least twice a year to ensure the health of their teeth and implants. Dental implants can last for decades when given proper care.

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