There are a number of reasons someone would need dental implants. Regardless of what your reason is, the process for getting them is the same for everyone. We offer dental implant surgery at Brightleaf Dental, but it is certainly a more serious procedure than just getting a cleaning or a cavity filled. Below you can learn more about what the process of getting dental implants is like and what you can expect from the recovery. Continue reading to get all of the information you need from your preferred Santa Monica dentist.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Since a dental implant surgery involved extracting your old tooth (if needed) and subsequently inserting a titanium post directly into the jawbone, the recovery isn’t necessarily a breeze. Once the post is secure in the jaw and has settled, a crown or overdenture will be placed on top of it to protect and give it the look and feel of a natural tooth. To reiterate, this cannot be done until the post has completely fused with the jawbone.
For the most part, this procedure is performed while the patient is under local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or full-blown sedation, depending on what is preferred by the patient. If you are not sure which method you would prefer, our team can work with you to determine which is best for you personally.
In some cases, a patient may need to also have bone grafting completed if the jawbone is too weak to support the implant post. This will involve taking bone from another part of the body and then placing it in the mouth. X-rays will be taken ahead of time to determine if this process will be needed or not.
Recovery and Regrowth
Once the dental implant post has been placed in your mouth, the recovery process will begin. Your body will first have to generate enough new bone so that the implant can be fully supported. This process is known as osseointegration.
Over time, the implant, even though it is artificial, will become a part of your mouth. But how long does it take for that to happen? While this varies from one patient to the next, it is normal for the bone to grow enough to support a crown or overdenture in two to three months. Don’t worry though! You won’t just have a bare post sticking out of your gum while you wait. Instead, a temporary crown will be placed over the post while your jaw bone grows around it.
For the first couple of days after the surgery, you will have to keep the area dry and clean. There will most likely be bleeding and swelling at first as your body will be recovering in its own way from the surgery.
It is also recommended that you avoid exercise or any sort of strenuous activity for the first couple of days after your implant surgery. Activities that get your heart pumping will also increase the amount of bleeding and swelling in your mouth, which should be avoided at all costs. Plus, just as you would after any surgery, you have to rest.
You will also have several follow-up appointments so that your dentist can see how you are doing and make sure that you are healing properly. Again, healing is different for every person and therefore, can take up to six months for some people to be ready to have their permanent cap or crown put on.
Care and Maintenance
Since this is such an extensive process, the last thing you want is to not take care of your implant properly leading to further surgeries. Proper care and maintenance are luckily fairly easy to do if you know what is needed to be done for the best possible outcome.
Make sure that you treat your implant like you would any other tooth when you are completing your daily oral hygiene like brushing and flossing. While you might be tempted to skip over it because it is an artificial tooth, don’t. Your implant has fused with your mouth and become part of your body, meaning you should treat it as such.
Your dentist will also recommend several lifestyle changes for you to consider once you have gotten a dental implant. For instance, if you are a smoker, it is highly recommended that for the sake of your teeth and your overall health that you stop smoking for good. Additionally, it may be suggested that you make minor changes to your diet if your dentist thinks it’s necessary.
A Smooth Implant Process
At Brightleaf Dental in Santa Monica, we are dedicated to offering the most information possible about the procedures we perform because we care about our patients being comfortable throughout any given dental procedure. We will work with you to make sure that both your implant surgery and recovery are as quick, efficient, and pain-free as they possibly can be. For more information, contact us today and make an appointment with our talented dental team.