If you are looking into receiving dental implants, or have decided they are right for you, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect while you recover from the procedure. Periodontist Dr. Karl A. Rose and his team at Periodontal and Implant Associates have performed countless dental implant procedures, and we want to be sure you are comfortable and informed as you approach your own procedure. To help make this possible, we have pin-pointed a few things you should know about the recovery. This way you can be prepared, feel at ease, and have the most productive recovery process possible.
Every procedure and every mouth is different. Depending on the extent of the work you have done, the initial recovery period may take as little as a day or two (for minimal implants), or up to one or two weeks (for several implants). Other contributing factors to the speed of your recovery are your age, your oral hygiene and your overall physical health. When you carefully follow the directions that are given to you at discharge, you are far more likely to have a quick and complication-free recovery. After the initial recovery period, it will likely be several months before your dental implants are completely integrated with the bone.
The day of your procedure will require the most care. The first hour after the procedure, you will need to leave in the gauze that will be placed in your mouth, unless heavy bleeding occurs. It is important to avoid eating solid foods while your mouth is numb (to avoid injury through accidental biting), or drinking through a straw. Straws create a vacuum effect that can prevent the natural clotting process and cause dry sockets. In the first 24 hours, it may be helpful to rinse your mouth out with a warm salt water solution to help the surgical site to heal. Do not, however, use mouth washes or rinses that contain peroxide. You can eat soft foods as you feel comfortable, but avoid any hot liquids for the first day. You may gently brush your teeth again after 24 hours have passed. Be sure to take any medications that have been given to you as needed, and according to the directions.
The first 24 hours following your procedure, we recommend that you do not drive or operate any heavy equipment, as the anesthesia wears off, since you may be dizzy or drowsy. After 24 hours you may resume regular activity, according to your personal comfort level, but don’t push it too hard. You may be prescribed a narcotic medication to help you manage the discomfort of surgery. Please wait for three days before doing anything strenuous, and be sure the narcotics are no longer in your system to avoid accident or injury.
The amazing technology of dental implants is such that once they are fully healed, you can resume regular dental care, including brushing, flossing and rinsing, as well as your regular dental check-ups. Your dental implants will look, feel, and act just like your natural teeth. They will be strong and resilient to regular wear and tear. With vigilant care, you can enjoy your new dental implants for many years to come. Even though they are not "real teeth" and cannot get cavities, they can break down more quickly without regular cleaning and maintenance. It is also very important to take good care of your gums and mouth, as your gum tissue and underlying bones are responsible for the support of your dental implants. Your implants will only be as strong as the gums and bones which support them, so be sure to continue to brush and floss regularly.
We are confident that you will have a positive experience with Dr. Rose and all of us at Periodontal and Implant Associates of Greater Washington. Contact us today for a consultation, so that we can get you on your way to a once-more beautiful, healthy smile.