In order to make dental implant surgery successful, it is important that the patient follows all the instructions given by his dentist during the post-operative care. After the dental implant surgery, patient has to follow some specific instructions. Replacement of missing tooth or teeth with dental implants is one of the most expensive dental treatments and no one wants to have any kind of complications or failure after dental implant procedure. Dentist will give some instructions which the patient has to follow, about post-operative care immediately after dental implant surgery and for long term after care of dental implants. It is important that patient follows all these instructions for maintaining dental implants for life time.
Dental implants can be given immediately after tooth extraction or can be given after 2 weeks to 3 months after tooth extraction or can be given after 3 months or more after tooth extraction. For giving dental implants to the patients, firstly implant placement is done and after that loading is done. Loading can either be done immediately after dental implant placement or after few weeks or months after dental implant placement. After dental implants placement surgery, bleeding, swelling, ecchymosis or infection may occur. Antibiotics, pain meds, instruction to the patient regarding hygiene and oral rinses is the best preventive measure to reduce the chances of these sequelae.
1. After placing dental implant, patient will feel some pain and discomfort. Level of pain is generally mild. After dental implant surgery, pain meds and antibiotics will be given by the surgeon. By taking analgesics, pain can be managed. They are to be taken regularly for 2 days. First dose of pain killer needs to be taken before the effect of local anesthesia wears off. Pain will start regressing in few days. If pain worsens after few days, then patient should contact the implant centre. Antibiotics should be taken by the patient as directed by the dentist. Patient should not stop taking them before prescribed time as suggested by the dentist.
2. Patient should take cold food stuffs after implant surgery and should not eat anything till the time the effect of local anesthesia has worn off. Hot drinks and hot food stuffs should be avoided during first 24 hours after surgery. Hot food stuffs increases bleeding.
3. Patient should take plenty of fluids and should drink at least eight glasses of water or fruit juice every day. Patient should take soft foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, and soups for 1 week after dental implant surgery.
4. Oozing of blood for first 24 hours after procedure is normal. To control bleeding, patient can bite on gauze pack for 30minutes. If the bleeding still doesn’t stop, then patient can bite on moist tea bags. If bleeding continues for more than 2 days, then dentist should be consulted by the patient. Aspirin or aspirin compounds should not be taken as it has anticoagulant properties and aspirin induces bleeding.
5. Swelling may occur after dental implant surgery. It is a normal occurrence after dental implant surgery. Swelling becomes more pronounced after day or two. After 48 hours, swelling will start regressing. Swelling can be reduced by intermittent cold application for first 24 hours and by doing warm saline rinses after 24 hours. Pressure dressing can also be given to reduce the swelling. Patient should keep his head elevated for first 24-48 hours after dental implant surgery to reduce swelling and bleeding. If patient experiences pain or swelling after 3-4 days, then he can contact his dentist.
6. Patient should avoid disturbing that area with tongue or fingers.
7. Patient should take some rest after dental implant surgery and should avoid strenuous exercises 48 hours after dental implant surgery.
8. Patient should not spit or should not drink anything with straws. It can dislodge the blood clot and can slow down the healing process.
9. If bone grafting procedure is done during the implant surgery, then the patient may notice few small granules appearing in the mouth. This is not a cause of any concern and is completely normal.
10. If sinus bone grafting is done during the placement of upper implants, then patient should avoid blowing the nose two weeks after implant placement surgery.
11. If a person is denture wearer, then he should wear the denture as little as possible on the first day. This is to provide protection to underlying graft tissue or the dental implant. If denture doesn’t fit properly after dental implant surgery, then the patient can get it adjusted from his dentist. If a denture becomes ill fitting after dental implant surgery, then it can damage the healing after the procedure.
12. Dissolvable or resorbable stitches are mostly given after dental implant surgery. If a patient finds the stitches annoying, then patient can get them removed after 1 week. If non-dissolvable sutures are given to the patient, then patient should visit his dentist ho get the stitches removed and get post-operative evaluation done.
13. Success of implant surgery is dependent on oral hygiene of the patient. Patient should use a mouthwash after surgery and should continue that for 1 week. Patient should keep half a cap-full of mouth wash over the surgical site for a minute. It will help in cleaning the healing site. Mouth wash should be used twice a day for 7 days. Patient should gently start brushing on the surgical site after few days. Patient can brush and clean his other teeth normally after dental implant surgery. Water pik should be avoided. Mouth should be kept as clean as possible. There should be no food deposits on the surgical site and patient should rinse following eating.
14. Smoking delays the healing process so patient is advised not to smoke until the wound has healed.
15. For faster healing to take place, warm saline rinses can be done by the patient. One teaspoon of salt is added to 1 cup of water and rinses are done 3-4 times a day to disinfect the area.
It is vital to follow all these instructions for success of implant surgery. When the bone grows around implants, then a patient may experience some discomfort around the area. It may last for several weeks. Ibuprofen or acetaminophens which are over the counter pain pills can be taken by the patient for pain relief.
If there are signs of infection after implant placement surgery or patient experiences nausea, fever or vomiting, then patient should consult his implantologist.
Dental implants after care-long term
After about 1 year after the surgery, dental implant is completely osseointegrated to the jaw bone. To maintain dental implants for life time without any problem, it is important that proper after care is taken of dental implants.
Importance of oral hygiene in dental implants patients
Dental implants are more susceptible to inflammation and bone loss in presence of plaque and calculus deposits as compared to natural teeth. Maintaining good oral hygiene is very important in dental implant patients. Patient should brush correctly and should also clean the Interdental and inter implant areas correctly. For special use of implant patients, oral hygiene kit is available which can be used by the patient. In smokers and in diabetic patients, chlorhexidine mouth wash in alcohol base is prescribed. Mouth wash reduces the plaque activity in the oral cavity and around the dental implants. Alcohol base will preserve and stabilize the solution. If oral hygiene instructions are followed by the patient, then inflammation of peri-implant tissues is minimal. Removal of plaque and calculus deposits from the teeth will reduce the risk of peri-implantitis which is the most common reason of failure of dental implants.
Regular dental visits and check-ups for dental implants patients
It is generally recommended that the patients treated with dental implant prosthesis be seen on 3 month basis for first 1-2 years and for every 6 months later on for evaluation. At every visit, oral hygiene instructions are reinforced and patient’s dexterity in maintaining good oral hygiene is checked. Probing depth is also evaluated by the dentist.
Special instructions are given to the patient if dental implants are used to support removable denture. Patient is made to understand how to place and remove the denture from the dental implants without causing any damage to the dental implants or to the denture.
If a patient is in the habit of clenching or grinding his teeth, then he should stop that as it causes inflammation of the implant area and can further lead to implant failure. Excessive pressure should not be applied on the restoration placed above the dental implants. They are not as strong as natural teeth. Patient should avoid eating hard foods which can break the restoration. Irritation to the implant area should be avoided.
Life of dental implants
Life expectancy of dental implants is dependent on numerous factors such as proper maintenance by the patient and health of the patient. Dental implants may last for lifetime or may have shorter life time. Life time of dental implants depends on how old the patient was when he got the dental implants and how the patient lives and maintenance by patient. For success of dental implants, patient should maintain good oral hygiene and should visit his dentist regularly for checkups.