Your dentist may suggest dental implants if you've recently had a tooth removed. Dental implants may protect bone health better than dentures, and many patients find them easier to use. These tips can help patients plan their dental implant procedure if they are considering this option:
1. Find out if you'll require additional procedures
Depending on your oral anatomy and situation, you may or may not require additional procedures before your dental implant surgery. People who wish to have endosteal implants may require bone graft surgery if their jawbones have started to erode due to a lack of stimulation. If you suffer from bone erosion and wish to avoid a bone graft, you may be able to talk to your doctor about a different type of dental implant that is designed to sit above the jawbone.
2. Prepare yourself for an extended healing process
The dental implant procedure is one of the more invasive dental procedures, involving not just the teeth and soft tissue of the mouth but also the jawbone. After your dental implant is placed in your jaw, it can take several months for your bone to fully heal. In the meantime, you can facilitate the healing process by eating soft, nutritious foods that do not aggravate the area. You may notice some ongoing sensitivity as your mouth heals. While you don't need to make any major changes to your lifestyle during this time, you may want to avoid strenuous activities and sports that might impact your mouth and delay the healing process. Your oral surgeon will check on your healing progress during your recovery, and they'll be able to give you a realistic idea of how long your individual recovery will take.
3. Ask your dentist if you'll need prescription pain medication
The dental implant procedure is generally well-tolerated by patients. However, some people are more sensitive to pain than others. If you're concerned about potential pain following your dental implant surgery, you can talk to your doctor about pain management options before your procedure. Many patients do well in managing their pain by alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen in the days following their surgery. However, your dentist may be willing to prescribe you a short course of opiate painkillers to get you through the most uncomfortable days following your implant procedure.
4. Choose the right time for dental implants
Many people are good candidates for dental implants. However, waiting for the right time to schedule a dental implant procedure can help you achieve better results. People who are currently taking oral steroids should wait to have dental implants placed because steroids can dampen the immune system, making infections more likely.