Living with missing or damaged teeth makes life quite hard. Fortunately, you can get dental implants to restore your beautiful smile. It is important to understand what you are about to get into including what to expect, recovery time, and post-operative care. Placing dental implants involves various steps each with own recovery time and precautions. Keep in mind that the surgery is different for everyone depending on jawbone, teeth, and number of implants.

How to get ready for dental implants

The process might begin with the extraction of the damaged tooth. This common dental procedure takes a few weeks to recover before the next step. Follow the dentist’s post-extraction guidelines diligently to avoid infection and dry socket. Bone regeneration or grafting might be necessary for jawbone strengthening. You need a strong stable bone for the implant area to support biting and chewing force using the implant. Bone healing for about 8 weeks to several months is necessary until full recovery.

Dental implant surgery

The longest part of the procedure is the implant placement. Your dentist makes a tiny cut in the gums reaching the jawbone to drill and place the titanium implant. This stands in place of the missing tooth root. The place happens under sedation to protect you from anxiety about the procedure. Keep in mind that you can’t drive afterward and the rest of the day is for resting. Recovery time for this procedure takes several months for bone healing to go on. Meanwhile, the implant fuses with the healing bone to become part of your jaw.

When you consult a dentist in Waterloo for implants, titanium is the ideal material. This permanently bonds with bone tissue making it less prone to slippage and noise than dentures. Additionally, titanium implants enhance stability and make the restoration work last for a lifetime, unlike fixed bridges. During the healing process, the dentist might recommend a temporary tooth for those missing a front tooth. You have to remove this partial temporary denture at night and for cleaning.

Post dental implant surgery

You need an abutment or collar placed on top of the implant after the dental implant has healed. This acts as a base for the replacement tooth for ready attachment. Some patients might have abutment attached during the implant procedure although it comes out above the gumline throughout healing time. To avoid this, have the abutment placed afterward. An abutment is for attaching metal post for gum tissue to close around it. This takes about two weeks for the gums to heal before the final placement of the implant.

Afterward, the dentist takes impressions for creating your new artificial tooth. The tooth might be removable or fixed. The dentist will ask you to make a choice. Then the implant is attached to abutments to restore your beautiful smile. Adjusting to the implant might take some time and this requires following the dentist’s aftercare instructions for the best results.

Potential side effects

Expect some discomfort throughout the healing process of the implant process. Some of these side effects include swelling of the gums and face, implant site pain, slight bruising, and minor bleeding. You are recommended to eat only soft foods throughout the healing process. The dentist might prescribe some antibiotics or pain medication to speed up healing after surgery. In case of prolonged healing, never hesitate to contact your dentist.

How to care for implants

Avoid smoking

One of the best ways to keep your dental implant secured in place is to avoid smoking. Cigarette smoke decreases bone in the mouth leading to a rise in the upper teeth and a fall in the lower teeth. This doesn’t happen overnight although it can be short enough for you to notice changes in the mouth.

Extensive bone loss resulting from smoking makes some moth threads to hold more bacteria and plaque. These contribute to further bone loss over time. Additionally, the build-up of plaque and bacteria cause bad breath while encouraging infection and tooth decay. The best way to protect yourself from all these is to avoid smoking.

Never clean the mouth using metal instruments

The best way to maintain your implant is by treating it like regular teeth. This requires regular flossing at least once a day and brushing twice daily. Keep in mind that no special toothbrush is available for use to clean dental implants. Never the less, avoid using any mental instrument for cleaning your mouth after placement of the implant.

Mind your habits

The rule of thumb is to go for regular dental visits as part of your oral health and maintenance of the implant. Additionally, avoid activities that put your teeth or implant at risk of cracking or damage. These include:

  • Opening bottles with teeth
  • Chewing on hard candy or ice
  • Grinding teeth at night

Bottom line

Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. However, you have to understand the whole process before taking the plunge. Equally important is finding a professional Waterloo dentist for the procedure and to follow all recommended guidelines.