Posted on Feb 02, 2023, 3 p.m.
If you have lost a permanent tooth due to decay, injury, or some other reason, consider a dental implant. Dentists always urge patients to take immediate action after losing a permanent tooth. It helps prevents problems like bite misalignment, chewing problems, loosening of teeth, and damage to your remaining teeth – due to tooth loss.
However, the prospect of dental implants can make most patients anxious. Educating yourself about the process and clarifying your doubts with your dentist is essential. Read on to learn more about the process and implant preparation.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants or tooth implants are artificial teeth, that are attached to your jawbone. They are screw-shaped metal posts that your surgeon fits into your jawbone to replace a missing tooth. Dental implants support artificial teeth, crowns, bridges, or dentures. After the dental crowns are attached, they appear and feel just like natural teeth. As time passes, the dental implants fuse with your bone tissues – this process is known as osseointegration.
How to Prepare Yourself for Dental Implant Surgery?
1. Get a Thorough Dental Examination – As with all other surgeries, a thorough check-up is a prerequisite for dental implant surgery. In the dental examination, your surgeon will determine your eligibility for the surgery by going through your medical and dental history. The dental examination also helps the doctor create a customized treatment plan that suits your dental health.
2. Prepare Your Jaw – Your jawbone and its health are critical to the success of dental implant surgery. If your jawbone has low density or inadequate volume, it may not be able to hold the implants in place. Your doctor may suggest a bone grafting procedure to strengthen a weak jawbone or a reshaping procedure for a bulky jawbone to prepare your jaw for surgery.
3. Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery – Finally, once you set a date for the surgery – it's time to prepare for the procedure. Here are some essential steps that patients must take to prepare for the tooth implant surgery and recovery –
A. Follow the Pre-Op Instructions – Your dentist or oral surgeon will give you some instructions to follow in the pre-operative phase. They will ask you to stop smoking or drinking twenty-four hours before the surgery. You may also have to fast in the hours leading up to your appointment – especially if your doctor needs to administer a potent anesthetic.
B. Prepare Soft Meals – If your doctor plans to sedate you for the surgery, you may feel too tired after the procedure. So, prepare your meals so you can rest for at least a day after the implant. Remember that your chewing capability will be reduced for some time, so prepare soft meals or smoothies that are easy to consume and digest.
C. Get a Driver – Most people believe that anesthetics don't debilitate them. But that is not true. The effects of sedatives may linger on for many hours after the surgery. Anaesthetics may affect your ability to drive a car or ride a bicycle – so it is best to ask someone to drive you home from the dentist's after the surgery.
D. Arrange a Place to Rest – You may not feel like going to work after the surgery. So, clear your schedule and take the day off to rest. Before going to the surgery, make arrangements in your home to ensure you can be comfortable when you return. It is advisable to wear comfortable clothes during the surgery. Also, remember to remove all your jewelry that may obstruct the dentist's work.
E. Follow the Dentist's Instructions – You can expect swelling and discomfort after the surgery. Your dentist will give you some medicines and instructions for post-operative care. Keep the instructions in mind and follow them as best as possible – to recover quickly.
Dental implant surgery is a short procedure, albeit a bit complicated. Communicating with your dentist is essential to understand the advantages of getting a dental implant and post-operative recovery. Talk to your dentist about the details of your dental implant needs and goals before going through the process. Educate yourself, prepare, and clarify all your doubts – and you can rest assured of a successful dental implant surgery.
This article was written for WHN by Shen Chao who is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he's gained first-hand experience with the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he's not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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