Implant dentistry is an ideal option for tooth replacement as it restores functionality while preventing jawbone loss. Meeting with a prosthodontic dentist is the best way to learn about tooth replacement options that involve dental implants and it’s important to understand what’s involved with the recovery period following dental implant surgery.
Dental implants explained
Dental implants are artificial (usually titanium) tooth root the dentist embeds in gum tissue and jawbone of a patient. Once placed, dental implants perform the same functions as natural tooth roots and prevent loss of bone density and receding gums. People with healthy gum and bone density and in overall good health make the best candidates for dental implants
Dental implant recovery process
Traditional dental implants are a two-step procedure where the dentist surgically places the artificial tooth root during the first visit and then places the crowns several months later when the area has healed. Immediately following oral surgery, patients commonly experience tenderness or discomfort in the dental implant area. The dentist recommends pain medications to treat the discomfort and provides detailed information about the recovery process.
Oral care following implants
Following the initial placement of dental implants, patients should eat softer foods and avoid chewing in the area of the mouth with the new implant. Spicy foods may irritate the area, and patients should avoid eating them until there’s sufficient healing in the area. Dentists usually advise against using straws as the suction can create problems with the surgical site. Once the dentist places the implants, patients need to continue their regular brushing and flossing and follow any special care instructions post-op.
For dental implants to succeed, osseointegration must occur. Osseointegration is when the dental implants fuse with the natural living tissues in the mouth and can take several months to complete. This process is crucial to ensure that dental implants function like natural tooth roots.
Recovering from dental implants can take several months depending on the patient’s overall health. For patients who also needed soft tissue augmentation or bone grafting as part of implant dentistry, recovery may take longer. To greatly improve the chances of dental implant success, patients should stop any tobacco use as this interferes with the healing process and is detrimental to oral and overall health.