One of the first things you can do is learn what dental implants are and what you can expect from the procedure itself.
Dental implants are small titanium rods that function as artificial tooth roots. They are placed into the jawbone then left to fuse with the surrounding bone, which can take multiple months. Once they are stable, you will receive a connective piece known as an abutment. Your dentist will then place a custom dental prosthesis.
Receive a Dental Examination
Scheduling a consultation provides your surgeon with a chance to qualify you, verifying that you are a good candidate for a safe and successful dental implant procedure.
During your appointment, your oral surgeon will perform a physical examination of your teeth, gums, and jaw. You can also anticipate some medical images and X-rays being collected. Based on this information, your surgeon will let you know whether you are a good candidate for surgery, if you require any additional procedures, and how many total implants you will need to achieve the desired outcome.
Have Supporting Procedures
You may require additional oral surgical procedures to prepare for the placement of implants. Three of the most common examples include:
- Tooth extraction. If you have teeth that are not viable, you may need to have them removed before the implants are placed.
- Periodontal treatment. Generally, oral surgeons will not perform implant surgery if you have untreated gum disease. It is important to address periodontal concerns before your implant placement.
- Bone grafting. You need sufficient jawbone in order to anchor the implants in place. If your jawbone is insufficient, or if it has deteriorated, you may need a bone graft to generate healthy new bone tissue.
Your oral surgeon will let you know which procedures you need and when to schedule them.
Start a Course of Antibiotics
Most of the time, patients are encouraged to take antibiotics to help prevent infection during the procedure, as well as during recovery. You may need to take antibiotics both before the surgery and during your recovery. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics as directed, even if you do not feel like it is necessary. Infection prevention is one of the best things you can do to ensure a smooth recovery.
Prepare for Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implant surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Because of this, you will be asked to fast from food for approximately 12 hours before the procedure. Make sure you follow these instructions as directed.
You can also prepare for your surgical procedure by ensuring you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your appointment.
Prepare for Recovery
Dental implant surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you will be discharged shortly after you wake up from the anesthesia. However, you will need to take a few days to rest and recover at home, providing your body with some time to heal.
There are a few steps you can follow to ensure that your recovery goes smoothly:
- Arrange a ride. You will need to have someone who can drive you home from the procedure. Ideally, you will also have someone who can stay with you for the first day or two, helping you around the house as needed.
- Stock up. For the first few days, you will need to stick to a diet of liquids and soft foods. Make sure you have these supplies on hand. Also, be sure to get your prescriptions and your OTC pain relievers before surgery.
- Reorder your schedule. We recommend taking a week or so to rest up, meaning no exercise or vigorous physical activity. If you can take this time off from work to allow for some rest and recuperation, that can help you ensure a safe and speedy recovery.