Dental implant surgery is a cosmetic dental procedure where the roots of the teeth are replaced with metal posts resembling screws. The process offers an alternative to bridgework or dentures for those who have suffered tooth loss.
This form of surgery can be intensive and may involve a number of procedures and requires an extended period of time for the jawbone to heal. To minimise pain and ensure that they are functioning properly, it’s important to care for your teeth and gums post-surgery.
1. Immediately After Surgery
Some pain is to be expected over the 24 hours following the procedure, but if it becomes too intense, contact your dentist. In the meantime, you can visit https://bespokesmile.co.uk/dental-implants for some self-care tips you can use to care for your implants and to minimise pain:
- Take any pain medication as instructed by your doctor.
- For the first eight to 12 hours, avoid moving and avoid strenuous exercise for at least 48 hours.
- Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours afterwards.
- Keep your head elevated to decrease swelling, and if possible, prop your head up with pillows while you sleep.
- Holding an ice pack to your face for quarter-hour intervals as needed may also help reduce swelling and bruising (this is normal and usually subsides within a couple of days).
- Stitches typically dissolve within three weeks. If they become uncomfortable, do not pick them up; instead, contact your dentist.
- Some minor bleeding is normal, but if this persists, use a dental sponge, damp gauze swab or clean handkerchief (do not use anything unsanitary, as this could lead to infection).
- Avoid touching or disturbing the surgical area with your fingers or tongue.
- If you have a denture covering the surgical area, avoid wearing it during the first week to allow your mouth to heal.
- If you have been given a course of antibiotics, take these as instructed.
Dental implant surgery requires anaesthetic. This can make driving dangerous, so do not drive yourself home. Ask a friend, family member or trusted neighbour to drive you home instead, or if there is no one available, call for a taxi.
2. Food and Drink
Do not eat anything until your anaesthetic has worn off. For the following 24 hours, try to stick to soft foods and avoid hot food or drink for the first day. For long-term care, avoid consuming sticky or hard foods as these could damage your implants.
It’s important to avoid smoking for at least six months as this could cause damage and discolouration. During this period you might even find that nicotine leaves your system entirely. If you are a smoker, this may be a good opportunity to stop. You should also avoid alcohol, as this may slow the healing process.
4. Be Gentle
Avoid anything abrasive, as harsh products may cause additional pain and discomfort. This may involve switching to software toothbrushes and dental products such as mouthwashes formulated for sensitive teeth. Avoid using products with strong flavours which can create unpleasant sensations.
5. Remember to Floss
Plaque can form around a dental implant leading to oral hygiene issues, so remember to floss once a day. As a reminder, you can set an alarm on your phone or tape a note to your bathroom mirror. Remember to also carry floss with you whenever you might need it.