If you are unhappy with your smile, or if you have problems chewing and want an alternative to dentures, then dental implants may be the right choice for you. Getting dental implants takes multiple procedures, however, most people sail right through each procedure without any problems. Here are some things you can expect from your implant surgery and recovery period.
Your dentist may give you the choice of having your natural teeth extracted by using a local anesthetic or oral sedation. After your natural teeth have been extracted, your jaw bone may need to be adjusted or grafted to make sure that it can accommodate the dental implants.
Bone grafting is not always necessary, however, it is a possibility that your dentist will discuss with you prior to your procedure. When your dentist performs a bone graft, he or she will fill the space where your natural teeth were extracted with a special grafting material so that your implants will be well-anchored. While grafting can be completed in one appointment, more extensive grafting may require multiple visits to your dentist.
After your grafts have healed, you will move on to the next procedure, which is the actual placement of your implants. To do this, your gum tissue is incised so that the underlying bone is exposed. The underlying bone is where the dentist will drill a small hole where each metal screw, or implant, will be placed. The incisions will then be closed. The implant screw is where the dentist will place the artificial tooth. You will need to recover for a few months so that your jawbone can fuse or attach to the implant.
After your dental implant surgery, you may experience bleeding and minor discomfort for a short period of time. While uncommon, you may also develop mild inflammation and bruising of your gum tissue. An over-the-counter pain reliever will probably be enough to manage your discomfort and swelling, however, if you want to learn about other pain relief options, talk to your dentist. You will be required to consume soft foods for a few weeks, and your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics.
You will also be instructed to care for your dental implants as you would your natural teeth. Simply brush and floss as you normally would, and limit your intake of highly pigmented foods and drinks such as coffee, red wine, cherries, and blueberries, which might stain your new implants. When you properly care for your implants, they will last for years, and in many cases, for a lifetime.
If you are interested in learning more about how dental implants can enhance your smile, make an appointment with your dentist, who will further explain what you can expect during your oral surgery and recovery.