Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screw-like posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. Dental implant surgery can offer a welcome alternative to dentures or bridgework that doesn’t fit well.
How dental implant surgery is performed depends on the type of implant and the condition of your jawbone. Dental implants will take a long way and take weeks to months to complete. Always ask questions and share your concerns with your dentist. It is therefore essential that you feel comfortable and confident in your dentist.
Like any surgery, post dental implant care is essential for a quick recovery.
Following post-operative instructions will help in a speedy recovery and ensure the success of the dental implant.
Swelling and discomforts
For some days it is normal to experience some bleeding, swelling and discomfort that will steadily improve. There is no need to get panicked if there is red saliva. If bleeding does not stop for two days, it will be good to call the doctor for instructions.
It is highly recommended to complete the medicine course prescribed by the doctor. These medicines include antibiotics for minimizing the risk of infection, pain relievers for managing discomforts.
For the first 24 hours, regular icing helps in swelling control. A reusable ice bag or a frozen vegetable bag, wrapped in a soft towel, may be applied to the area of surgery to help minimize the swelling of your face. Alternating 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off will usually be adequate during the first 24-48 hours after surgery.
In the few days after surgery, it is better to have soft food and liquids. Avoiding hot and spicy foods is especially recommended. You can return to your routine diet after 4-5 days but it is still good to stay away from hard items until the implanted area is completely healed.
Chew on the opposite side and do NOT bite into food if the procedure was done in the front of the mouth.
Soft food diet
- Foods such as soups, pasta,
- scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes,
- macaroni & cheese etc. are good
- Be sure to maintain adequate nutrition and drink plenty of fluids.
Food to avoid:
- sticky, hard food (such as ice cubes, nuts, popcorn, chips),
- brittle, spicy, highly seasoned, or acidic foods in your diet.
Post-surgery cleaning and hygiene is essential but it should not disrupt the healing process. On the day of surgery, doctors suggest brushing softly but avoid rinsing. From the next day, it is good to gently rinse with warm saltwater every time after eating.
After you have eaten or you have snacked, please use lukewarm salt water rinse 4-6 times a day; 30 seconds of swooshing with each use.
After a week it is still better to avoid toothbrushing and cleaning the implant area using a Q-tip.
Avoiding potential issues
- Any kind of excessive pressure or biting force on the implant area should be avoided.
- Avoid alcohol (even beer and wine) and smoking until after your post-operative appointment.
- Smoking is not advised during the 7-14 days following surgery.
- Please do NOT play with the surgery area with your fingers or tongue.
- Do NOT pull down the lip or cheek to look at the area and do not have someone else look at the area.
- Do NOT use a drinking straw, as the suction may dislodge the blood clot.
- Avoid extremely hot or cold foods.
- Patients with bruxism should have a bite guard or similar dental appliance for long-term protection.
Try to relax and practice the best oral hygiene possible and your healing should progress well. Make sure to visit your dentist regularly to track your healing process.