Did you know that after losing a tooth—as an adult—bone loss begins almost instantly? In fact, after just a year of living with an absent tooth, your jaw bone can recede almost one-quarter of an inch. This is, of course, bad for a number of reasons. Not only can this cause neighboring teeth to form gaps and weaken until they collapse, but it can also make your face look older and severely affect your appearance and self-esteem. Given these potential ramifications—and the tremendous success of the dental implant procedure—it is crucial to replace your missing teeth with dental implants.

Okay, okay, we know, you get it. Dental implants are important. You know you need to get them, but what about the pain? The recovery? What about life post-dental implants? If this is what you’re thinking, you’re in luck. In today’s blog, we at Montana Dental Works would like to share with you some tips and information regarding dental implant recovery.  

If you are looking for affordable dental implants and you are in the Kalispell, Montana area, contact Montana Dental Works! Learn about our dental practice, our dental implant service, and how to schedule a consultation. Read on to learn about what you can expect after receiving dental implants.

Are There Risks?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s first address—what for many can be—the elephant in the room. If you have been putting off scheduling a visit to your local dentist because of a slight uneasiness, discomfort, or anxiety, know that you are not alone. According to Colgate, it is estimated that 9 to 15 percent of Americans avoid the dentist because of anxiety or phobia. However, when it comes to dental implants and the inherent risks, it is best to go with the data. Of course, like any surgery, there are risks, but most problems are very rare. These include infection, damage to the blood vessels or teeth, nerve damage, and sinus problems.

What to Expect?

Dental implant surgery is typically an outpatient procedure that is broken up into multiple stages. Before any action is taken, your dentist will develop a treatment plan that may also include doctors who specialize in conditions of the mouth, jaw, and face.

For simple implant procedures—cases that require little or no grafting—there is very little postoperative swelling and discomfort. And after a few days of a soft diet and gentle brushing, you will likely be able to continue life as normal.

For most dental implant procedures, you can generally expect the following stages, which often take place over the course of a few months:

  • Tooth removal
  • Jawbone is prepared—often with bone grafting
  • After your jawbone heals, the dental implant metal post will be placed
  • The post is given time to stabilize and heal
  • The abutment is put in place by your oral surgeon
  • Molds of your teeth and jawbone will be made
  • After soft tissue heals, your dentist will place the final tooth or teeth

Post-Surgery Care

Whether your dental implant procedure is complete in one stage or with multiple stages, you will likely experience the following:

  • Swelling—swelling is a very normal side effect following surgery. The swelling often will not reach its worst point until two or three days after the procedure. Simply applying an ice pack to the cheek can help minimize the swelling. Additionally, adhering to any medication plan laid out by your dentist can also help lessen this side effect.
  • Pain at the site of the implant—like with almost all surgery, there will be some pain and discomfort around the implant site. Most dentists will treat this ache with pain medication. When taking medication, remember to always follow your doctor’s orders, and precede each pill with a small amount of food to reduce any nausea. It is important to remember that most of the time the worst of the pain occurs during that six-hour window after the local anesthetic has worn off.
  • Bleeding—more than likely, some bleeding will occur after surgery. It is not uncommon for this to last for up to 48 hours after the procedure. Keep in mind that when it comes to oral bleeding, the presence of saliva can make it seem like there is much more blood and oozing than there actually is. Your cosmetic dentist office will prepare you for this and instruct you on how to properly use gauze.

Try to remember that most dental implants are successful, and oftentimes, when implants aren’t successful, it is because of a patient not taking proper post-surgery care—for example, drinking out of a straw or continuing to smoke, which are both activities that can jeopardize and complicate your recovery. We hope that this article has given you a slightly better understanding of how dental implants work and what recovery looks like. If you want to learn more about affordable dental implants in the Kalispell area, contact us today!