Dental implants are a relatively new treatment option for people with severe tooth decay. First developed five decades ago, they are very popular as an alternative to dentures or bridges to replace missing or unhealthy teeth.
Although only six percent of Americans currently have implants, dental professionals expect that number to rise to 23 percent by 2026. They are a worthwhile investment that can tremendously improve your confidence and quality of life.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots surgically implanted into the jaw. They support artificial teeth and restore a person's appearance and ability to chew. They have several advantages over other tooth replacement options, such as dentures or bridges.
They are solid and stable, allowing you to eat and speak normally. They also aid in the preservation of the jawbone and surrounding teeth. They do so by providing the same stimulation to the bone as a natural tooth root.
Dentists place them through a surgical procedure. It involves inserting the implant into the jawbone and allowing it to heal and integrate with the surrounding bone tissue. This process, known as osseointegration, typically takes several months. Your dentist then attaches a dental restoration, such as a crown or bridge, to the implant once it fully integrates with the jawbone.
Dental Implant Do's and Don'ts
Following the placement of dental implants, it is critical to follow the postoperative care instructions provided by your dental professional. Here are some general do’s and don'ts to remember:
Regular brushing and flossing will help you maintain good oral hygiene. Oral hygiene is essential for the overall health of your mouth, including that of your implants. To remove plaque and food particles, brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once every day between your teeth and around the implant.
Take any prescribed medications exactly as prescribed. Following your dentist's instructions for taking any medications prescribed after surgery is critical. These may include pain relievers and antibiotics to alleviate any discomfort you are feeling.
For the first few days after surgery, stick to a soft diet, gradually introducing solid foods as you heal. Letting your implant fully heal before returning to your regular diet is best. While you are healing, avoid biting down directly on the implant.
Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent infection. Antimicrobial mouthwash can help kill bacteria in your mouth, lowering your risk of infection. For the recommended frequency and duration of use, refer to the mouthwash packaging.
Apply an ice pack or cold compress to reduce swelling within 24-48 hours after surgery. After surgery, swelling is a normal part of the healing process. A cold compress or ice pack applied to the outside of your cheek near the surgical site can help reduce discomfort and swelling.
Avoid drinking through a straw and blowing your nose hard for the first week after surgery.
Do not use your tongue, fingers, or anything else to touch, poke, or prod the treatment area.
Avoid strenuous activities or exercise for at least one week following surgery.
Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that could harm your implant or surrounding teeth.
You should follow your dentist's instructions to ensure your implant heals properly and lasts many years. In case of any concerns or unusual symptoms following your treatment, it is best to consult your dentist as soon as possible.
For more on dental implants, call MAC Family Dentistry in Mandeville at(985) 238-3797 to schedule a dental implant consultation.