Dental implants are the gold standard for missing teeth replacement and have been for many years. One of the reasons for this is that they provide a long-term solution for missing teeth. However, unlike conventional dentures and bridges, tooth implants are placed directly into the jaw, requiring a patient to undergo dental implant surgery.
With this in mind, we want to put you at ease by answering three of the most common questions patients ask about the surgical process. So let’s get started.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as the time taken to complete surgery will depend upon several factors, including; the position of the missing tooth, the complexity of the placement and the number of implants being placed.
As a general rule of thumb, dental implant surgery typically takes between 20 minutes and a couple of hours. Still, your implant dentist should be able to give you a rough idea of surgery time based on your personalized treatment plan.
Also, some dental clinics use computer-guided, digital implant methods where the whole process is carefully planned in detail before dental implant surgery takes place. Therefore, the time to complete the implant placement is often reduced.
To answer this question, we need to break it up into two stages: the oral surgery itself and the recovery stage after surgery.
Firstly, during the actual surgical process, patients should feel no pain or discomfort. This is because local anesthesia will numb the area around the missing tooth site.
In some cases, particularly with anxious or nervous patients, oral sedation (also known as conscious sedation) can be used. When patients are given oral sedation, they remain awake and aware of their surroundings but are kept in a relaxed, dream-like state.
The only feeling you may experience during dental implant surgery is slight pressure, which shouldn’t cause discomfort.
After implant surgery, particularly the first few days, patients can expect to feel some level of discomfort. In most cases, pain can quickly be eased using over-the-counter medications like Tylenol.
Slight swelling and bruising may also be present, but this usually disappears within 3-7 days with the help of hot and cold compresses.
If pain or discomfort cannot be relieved using conventional medications or continues for longer than ten days, talk to your implant dentist, who can help further.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of having tooth implants is that you can adopt a regular eating pattern with no restrictions. However, until the implant has fully stabilized in the jaw, you may need to avoid particularly chewy or crunchy foods.
Also, for the first 24-48 hours, you must stick to a diet of softer or liquid foods like soup, yogurt, or mashed potatoes. This is because you don’t want to disturb the protective blood clot forming in and around the implant site. Once the clot has formed, you can slowly introduce foods like rice, fish, softer fruits like bananas and pasta.
After several weeks you can start introducing other foods, but care should still be taken to avoid foods like hard candy, crisp apples or raw carrots. As a rule of thumb, if it makes a noise when you bit into it, it’s best to wait until the implant has fully integrated into the jaw before you try it. Implant integration can take anywhere between 2-6 months.
As a guide, your dentist will tell you more about what you can and shouldn’t eat in your treatment plan.
So there we have it. Your top three questions answered about dental implant surgery.
Here at Chesterfield Dentistry, we want our patients to be as informed and prepared as possible before undertaking such a procedure. To this end, Dr Akinwande and her team provide a thorough consultation where you can get all your questions and concerns answered before committing.
We will also provide detailed post-operative instructions and support you through the recovery process by remaining a phone call away.
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