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What to Expect after Dental Implant Placement

We are a lucky generation because of the great advancements in implant dentistry. Today, you don’t have to settle for ill-fitting, poor-functioning dentures to replace a lost tooth. Dental implants provide a reliable, stable, natural looking and natural functioning tooth.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is placed into the bone in your jaw. The implants are made of titanium, which has been proven safe for use over the last 30 years, and, when fully integrated with the bone, form a strong, artificial tooth root. The entire healing process can take between 3 and 6 months before a final crown is placed. If there has been bone grafting to build up the support for the implant, recovery may take longer to ensure good bone quality. Dental implants have a 95-99 percent success rate, and once successfully integrated, an implant-based restoration can last up to 30 years or more.

The implant is placed during a surgical operation usually under IV sedation and local anesthetic.

Here’s what you can expect following the procedure.

You will feel soreness in your mouth

The dental implant will involve surgery of your jaw and gums. It is common to experience mild pain or discomfort in the area. You should not feel any pain around the implant itself. Pain around the implant is a sign of an infection around the implant. That’s why it is important to follow the post-operative instructions given to you following the procedure and clean around the implant site as directed by your dentist. Any mild pain or discomfort should decrease after the third day following the surgery. You should receive a follow-up call from the dentist’s office asking how you are. Your dentist will usually prescribe painkillers, but for many extra-strength over-the-counter pain relievers are often enough.

Accidentally biting of Cheek and Tongue

Many people find that they bite the inside of their cheek or their tongue as the freezing anesthetic returns or as they adjust to not being able to use their new, temporary tooth for chewing. It’s important for successful integration of the implant that you not use the tooth for chewing. It may take a couple of weeks to get comfortable with the adjustment.

Gums, cheek and chin may feel numb

The dental implant procedure includes the use of a local anesthetic which will keep the area around the implant numb for about two hours. A small number of patients may experience prolonged numbness, particularly in the lower jaw, depending on the precise location where the anesthetic was injected, and how close the surgical placement of the implant was to the nerve that runs just below the tooth roots. This “dysesthesia” may last a few days or a few months. In extremely rare cases the loss of feeling may be permanent, but again, this happens in an extremely small number of cases.

Swelling and increased production of saliva

You may experience swelling around the surgical site, particularly if your dentist has had to use a bone graft which is normally harvested from the wisdom tooth area. The swelling may create pressure on the salivary glands of your cheeks, which will then cause you to produce more saliva. Saliva is the mouth’s natural cleaning solution. It helps flush away bacteria and food particles. As the swelling decreases over a few days, saliva production will also decrease.

Bleeding from the site

You may experience bleeding from the site, particularly immediately following the procedure. You should see small amounts that gradually decrease after surgery. The site should not be gushing. It this happens, call your dentist immediately. Small amounts of bleeding is actually a sign of healing. So don’t panic about that.

Stitches

The tissue around the implant will be closed with stitches which usually dissolve or fall out on their own within 7-10 days. If you’ve had any bone grafting or soft tissue grafting with your procedure, the stitches may need to stay in longer to allow time for the graft to “take”. In some cases, you may be instructed to return to the office to have the stitches removed by the dentist.

Uneven bite

Sometimes it can take a little while after the temporary or permanent crown is placed to get the best “occlusion” or fit against upper or lower teeth. Dentists are quite happy to make the adjustments and file down a little bit here or there to help get the right fit.

If you want to feel safest, comfortable and confident about your dental implant placement or restoration, please call Dr. Mark Falco’s team at the Smile Design Studio at (407) 456-8405.

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