One of the most popular ways to replace one or more missing teeth is with dental implants. Once you learn more about this remarkable procedure, it’s easy to see why so many dental patients choose implants. In fact, getting a new dental implant is very much like getting a brand new natural tooth. But the procedure is somewhat involved and takes some time, so we’ve compiled this information about what you can expect after the dental implant procedure.
What’s Involved in Getting a New Dental Implant
The process begins when your dentist or oral surgeon surgically implants a tiny metal rod (typically made of titanium) into the gum tissue at the site of the missing tooth. Over a period of time, the metal fuses to the jawbone, creating what is essentially an artificial tooth root. The initial period of time after the procedure is crucial in order to ensure that the implant bonds properly to the bone tissue.
The First 24 Hours after the Procedure
As is the case after any surgical procedure, the first 24 hours afterward typically involves a certain amount of pain and soreness at the site of the incision. During this time period, you’ll need to avoid touching or disturbing that area. You should also expect some swelling and a small amount of bleeding during that first 24-hour period. Your dentist or oral surgeon will likely prescribe a pain medication to minimize the amount of discomfort you experience, and will probably recommend using a cold compress or an ice pack to reduce the swelling. It’s important to keep the mouth as clean as possible during this period as well, since the site of the procedure is an open wound until it has a chance to further heal.
Two to Three Days after the Procedure
It’s not unusual for some symptoms to persist a few days after the procedure, including discomfort, minor bleeding and a small amount of swelling. You may even notice some bruising on the outside of the mouth at the location of the implant. If you need to continue pain medication and/or cold compresses or ice packs during this period, you shouldn’t be alarmed. As soon as it’s safe to do so, you should return to your normal daily oral hygiene routine to ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy during the healing process. Your dentist can provide more information regarding when you can return to brushing and flossing.
A Temporary Crown
A portion of the implant remains above the surface of the gum tissue after the procedure, and that allows your dentist to affix a permanent crown (your replacement tooth) after the implant has fused to the bone. In the interim, your dentist may play a temporary crown on the implant at some point after the initial healing period, which will make it easier for you to go about your day-to-day activities until you can be fitted with a permanent crown.