POST-OPERATIVE CARE FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS
The proper post-operative care for dental implants
Teeth can fall out for any number of reasons including injury, illness, old age, or poor oral hygiene which can result in restricted function of the mouth.
There are many ways to replace missing teeth, but dental implants are one of the more popular options. Dental implants are permanent teeth replacements which are fixed directly to the bone through a surgical procedure. The dental implant itself is an actual titanium post or frame which is attached to the jawbone and used to mount a tooth replacement.
As with any surgical procedure, there are certain steps that should be taken after the surgery to ensure proper healing. Whilst your dentist will advise you on proper post-operative care, you should educate yourself before the procedure, so you can be prepared when you get home. We have compiled a list of things you need to know concerning post-operative care for dental implants.
Post-operative Care for Dental Implants
- Avoid touching: For about two weeks following the surgery, you should take care to avoid direct contact with the implant. Aside from your routine cleaning (which should be done carefully especially around the implant area) you should not touch the area. This means avoiding using the implant for biting or chewing and avoiding hard and tough foods which can cause damage and pain.
- Minimise bleeding: You shouldn’t experience too much bleeding after the procedure, but it is to be expected during the first few hours at home. To stop the bleeding – try folding two damp pieces of gauze, placing it over the surgical site and gently biting down on it. By applying this slight pressure, you can stop the bleeding. It is also normal to taste or see traces of blood of your saliva during the first few days after the operation.
- Soothe swelling: Swelling is a completely normal reaction to surgery. If you experience swelling, you can place an ice pack over the operated area for 20 minutes at a time to help soothe it and bring down the swelling during the first 24 hours. After 48 hours, switch to a warm compression.
- Take medications: Everyone will experience some sort of pain or discomfort following a dental procedure but if it is unbearable for you, you can opt for some anti-inflammatory medications. If you are unsure about what medications you can take, speak to your doctor or dentist. In severe cases, you will be prescribed strong pain medications which can make you drowsy; in this case, make sure you are at home resting. If you are prescribed antibiotics, ensure you take it as directed and complete the dose to avoid infection and help the site heal effectively.
- Eat right: Following your surgery, you will have to be careful about what you eat. Immediately after the surgery, you should avoid extreme hot or cold liquids for a few hours. Patients are normally advised to eat foods such as soft puddings, yoghurts, etc. Once this numbness wears off, you can progress to soft solid foods and then your regular foods but remember to chew away from the surgical site.
- Maintain oral hygiene: Surgical sites are more prone to bacteria build-up and infections. To prevent this, it is important to maintain your oral hygiene routine. Ensure you clean your mouth thoroughly after each meal by using a soft bristled toothbrush to gently brush your teeth and tongue. You can also use a dentist-prescribed mouthwash to rinse out any dirt and kill germs. You should only begin brushing and using mouthwash a day after the surgery.
- Rest: For the first 48 hours or so following your surgery you might feel weak and drowsy as your body recovers from the anaesthetic. You should make sure you get enough rest and relax your body. Regular activities may be resumed after this time but only as tolerated.
- Avoid smoking: It is advised that you avoid smoking for at least three days after the surgery since it increases the chances of infection and can delay healing.
- Avoid using dental prostheses: If you normally use partial or full dentures, you should avoid using it for a while after the surgery unless otherwise stated by your dentist. Your prosthesis may also need to be readjusted following the surgery so using them too soon can cause discomfort.
- Monitor yourself: If you experience continuous swelling and pain despite using an ice pack and taking medication you should see your dentist immediately to check for an infection.
Proper care and treatment following the procedure will ensure a speedy recovery. The implants will help restore your smile and the function of your mouth so you can go back to living your best life everyday without any worries.
Honeysuckle Dental | Newcastle
If you would like to know more about dental implants or the aftercare of the procedure, book an appointment today by calling us on (02) 4915 9230 or completing the query form on our contact us page.