Confused About Implants and Their Care? FAQs About Artificial Teeth, Surgery, and Maintenance
What do you need to know about dental implants, surgery, and healthy mouth care? According to the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP), dental professionals make nearly 2.3 million implant-supported crowns each year. If you’re one of the many Americans who need an implant, take a look at what you need to know about this common dental restoration and how to correctly care for it.
Are Implants the Same As Dentures?
Before you choose this type of dental restoration, you may need to know more about what implants are — and what they aren’t. Dental implants aren’t removable or temporary. As the name implies, implants actually implant themselves into your jawbone. This restoration uses a 5x grade titanium screw to anchor a tooth or set of teeth (above the gum line) into your mouth. Over time, the implant integrates with the bone to become a permanent part of your smile.
Dental implants support types of prosthetics (artificial teeth). You will also need to care for them differently. This means you will need to talk to your dentist about which choice is best for you and how you should maintain the dental prosthetic before you start the tooth replacement process.
Will An Implant Require Oral Surgery?
Yes, you will need a surgical procedure to insert the anchor into your mouth. But this isn’t the same type of surgery that you might experience with a knee replacement or other physical procedure. Instead of taking place in an operating room, you can have this oral surgery in the dentist’s office or a dental clinic. You may also need multiple procedures done through multiple outpatient office visits. This allows the dentist to tailor the surgery and implant to fit your oral care needs.
Some patients may need a tooth extraction and bone grafting before the dentist places the implant (anchor screw). If the bone is too soft or not thick enough to support the implant, the dentist may recommend either a natural or synthetic bone graft. Patients who require a graft step in the surgical process may need to wait for the area to heal before taking the next step in the implant process.
While you will need an anesthetic to eliminate discomfort during a grafting or implant procedure, you may not need the same type of sedation that other surgeries require. You may only need a local anesthetic to numb the immediate area. If you have complex surgical needs or feel nervous about the procedure, dental sedation is an option to explore. This type of sedation allows you to rest and relax during the oral surgery.
How Should You Care for Your Mouth Immediately After Surgery?
Follow the dentist’s directions after your procedure. If you had sedation, you will need a responsible adult to drive you home and stay with you. (After the grafting or implant surgery, you may have swelling of the gums or your face, noticeable facial bruises or bruising inside of your mouth, pain, or some bleeding.)
To care for your mouth after surgery, avoid sticky or hard to chew foods. You may also need to ice the outer area, take pain medications, or take prescription antibiotics to prevent an infection. Your dentist will review how to clean your mouth safely and comfortably as the implant area heals.
How Should You Care for Your Implant?
The implant will remain unseen under the gum line. This means you won’t need special steps to care for it.
How Should You Care for the Implant’s Crown?
Unlike your natural teeth, a crown can’t decay. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for it. Keep the surrounding area, including the gums, clean with regular brushing and flossing. Twice daily brushing can also remove potentially staining foods or debris from the crown and we will teach you a specific floss technique to allow you to better clean around your dental implant.
Do you need a dental implant? Contact Total Freedom Dental Implant Center for more information.