What is a Dental Implant?
Implants are a tooth replacement option that involves placing a new "root" into the bone of your jaw. Once this titanium "root" has fused with your bone, it can be used to support a crown, bridge, or denture. These implants can also be used to replace partials and other forms of dentures. The success rate for dental implants are extremely high and is due in part to the fact that root-form implants are made of a biocompatible material, titanium. Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements.
Dental Implants have now become the standard for replacing older dentistry and missing teeth because they look and feel like your natural teeth and have a higher success rate than all other forms of tooth replacement. The initial cost is generally higher for an implant over different types of tooth replacement, but the long term benefits easily outweigh the difference in an additional charge. An investment in implant dentistry is an investment in overall health, appearance and well being, as it involves preserving the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth.
There are actually two phases to implant dentistry.
Phase 1: Using very accurate surgical techniques, an incision is made in the gum tissues and implants are placed into dimensionally controlled sites (depth and width) in the jawbone.
First, the gum tissue is opened and the jaw bone is tapped with a small drill and then drilled with a wider drill. The implant is inserted into place. The gum tissues are then closed and the healing phase begins. This may take anywhere from 3-6 months to ensure a strong base.
Phase 2: An abutment is secured to the top of the implant placing a new tooth crown onto the implant abutment. Implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth, or your dentures.
After Placement of Dental Implants
Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. There will be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue.
BLEEDING. Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding area for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues please call the office for further instructions.
SWELLING. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face are not uncommon as it is the body's normal process in repairing itself. Swelling does not always appear immediately. It may take 12 to 24 hours before swelling becomes apparent. Swelling may not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-surgery. Swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs post-surgery. Two baggies filled with ice or ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days call the office.
DIET. Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or hot food. Soft food and liquids should be eaten on the day of surgery. Return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.
PAIN MEDICATION. You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, 1 or 2 Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol. Ibuprofen, bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken every 3-4 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic, or have been instructed not to take it.
HOME HYGIENE CARE. The night of surgery, use the prescribed Peridex Oral Rinse before bed. The day after surgery, the Peridex should be used twice daily, after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds then spit it out. Warm salt water rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day, as well, especially after meals. Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is no problem, but be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas. Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. Physical activity could cause throbbing or bleeding in the surgical implant area.
WEARING DENTURES. You will always have teeth during your recovery period. Temporary partial dentures or full denture arches should not be used immediately after surgery and for at least 10 days.