For patients who have missing or severely damaged teeth, dental implants offer many advantages over other types of restorative dentistry. Not only do they look, feel, and function just like natural teeth, but they are also durable and there is very little chance of them falling out like dentures or other appliances. Although dental implants are currently the gold standard for replacing missing or damaged teeth, it is important to remember that the entire process can take months to complete and carries the same risks as any other surgery. If you are considering dental implant surgery, read on to find out how you can minimize the potential risks and heal as quickly as possible.
What are Dental Implants?
In dental implant surgery, threaded metal posts are implanted in the bone tissue of the upper or lower jaw. As they heal, bone tissue grows around the implanted post, strongly anchoring it within the jaw. Once the implant site is healed, artificial teeth are affixed to the posts, where they can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, at which time they can be replaced. Compared to other options like dental crowns, bridges, and dentures, dental implants are much more durable and require much less maintenance.
Recovering From Dental Implant Surgery
Placing the metal posts used in dental implant surgery requires removing any damaged teeth and drilling into the jawbone. After your procedure, you may experience swelling, bruising, pain, and minor bleeding around the implant site. Biting down on a gauze pack will reduce bleeding and help blood clots form around the implanted post. If your dentist prescribed any pain medications, take them as advised to reduce pain symptoms. Using an ice pack on your face can also help reduce pain and swelling.
In the first few days after your surgery, you will need to avoid eating solid foods or anything that could become lodged between the implant and your jawbone. Avoid smoking and heavy exertion. When brushing, be sure not to brush directly on the implant site until it heals more completely. After about 3 days, you can start transitioning from a liquid diet to soft foods like pasta.
After about a week, you will have a consultation with your dentist to check your progress. If everything looks good, you can start brushing normally again and resume moderate exercise. While solid foods are acceptable to eat during this time, you should still be careful with crunchy foods and always chew on the opposite side of your mouth. Most patients are fully recovered from their surgery in 2-3 weeks, although your bone tissue will continue bonding with the implant for 3-6 months after. Your dentist may be able to place your artificial teeth as soon as 2-3 weeks after installing the implants.
Dental Implants in Chicago
If you are a resident of the Chicago area who is interested in receiving dental implants or who needs recovery advice, the team at American Dental would be happy to assist you. We have 8 locations in Chicagoland to serve you, so call (773) 284-1645 or schedule an appointment online if you need to find the best dental implants in Downtown Chicago.