So, you’re facing dental implant surgery and feeling a little scared about the procedure?

Don’t worry, we totally get where you’re coming from.

Many people worry that dental implant surgery may be painful but honestly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our dentist here at Scott Street Dental will talk you through what you can expect.

Here’s the good news…

Before you even set foot in our clinic for implant surgery, our dentist will have carried out meticulous planning using x-rays and CT imaging to figure out the exact placement of your implant in order to avoid any nerves or sinuses This makes dental implant surgery easier, safer, and shorter for the patient. You’ll also have been given local anaesthetic, so we promise you won’t feel a thing.

And if you’re wondering ‘How long does implant surgery take?’

Provided there are no complications, surgery for a single conventional dental implant should only take about an hour. It will be over before you know it!

So, now you’re (hopefully) feeling more at ease about the surgery part of the dental implant procedure, what’s next?

What to expect after dental implant surgery?

Immediately after your oral surgery you can expect a certain amount of bleeding. Light bleeding and a slight redness in your saliva are perfectly normal, so don’t feel alarmed if you have any of these symptoms.

We’ll ask you to hold a piece of gauze in your mouth and bite down on it continuously for around 40 minutes. Don’t keep removing it to check if the bleeding has stopped, since that’s likely to dislodge any clotting and cause more bleeding.

Top tip: remain upright, stay calm, and avoid any strenuous movement.

Any bleeding should have stopped within 4 to 6 hours but if it continues, consider using a teabag. Not to make yourself a drink! – a moistened teabag contains tannic acid which helps to cause blood to clot, so biting down on that for around 30 minutes should do the trick. Watch out for the tea leaves though!

What about pain?

You’re bound to feel a little pain as the anaesthetic wears off but usually, this can be controlled using over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. If you were prescribed a course of antibiotics, then it’s important to finish the entire course as this helps prevent infection.

Women please be awareantibiotics can interfere with any birth control tablets you may be taking, so if having a baby anytime soon isn’t on your agenda, then just double check with your dentist and/or your local pharmacy!

So, what about swelling?

Some people get away without swelling – everyone is different. It’s perfectly normal following dental implant surgery for there to be some swelling around the mouth, cheeks, and the side of the face.

If you do experience swelling, it should subside within 3 -5 days.

Top tip: Apply an ice pack on the side of your face where your surgery was performed to bring out any swelling after dental implant surgery. After 48 hours, stop using ice and carry on with warm packs. Try elevating your head when you’re sleeping, as this will minimise the swelling too.

Oral Hygiene – Do’s and Don’ts

  • No rinsing of any kind until the day after surgery.
  • 48 hours following surgery, rinse your mouth gently with a small amount of salt water, 5-6 times a day for 2 weeks.
  • Also, start brushing and flossing, taking care not to disturb the implant site.
  • After 4 weeks, it’s safe to start brushing the implant and abutment, but use a soft bristled toothbrush and be gentle.

What about diet?

Don’t worry, contrary to the popular myth, you won’t have to survive for weeks on pureed baby food!

You may not feel much like eating, especially if your mouth feels sore; but eating helps you to feel better, gives you strength, and above all, speeds up the healing process.

For the first six hours following dental implant surgery stick to soft foods such as milkshakes, smoothies, mashed potato, yoghurt, creamy soup. High protein, calorific food is key here. Just remember to eat on the opposite side of where your surgery was performed and avoid foods that are overly hot or overly cold.

Once the numbness has worn off, you can consume foods such as eggs, pasta, softly cooked vegetables and pancakes.

Drink to avoid dehydration

Since you’ll be eating less for the first few days, you need to compensate by drinking more. Again, nothing too hot or too cold and lay off the alcohol and fizzy drinks!

It’s important to stick to the post-op instructions given by our dentist to avoid:

  • Infection around the implant site
  • The risk of the implant not fusing with the surrounding bone tissue
  • Your body rejecting the dental implant

It will take a few weeks for your gums to heal so during this time you can gradually introduce different foods to your diet. Once your crown has been fitted, it’s imperative to maintain a high level of oral hygiene, to enjoy a long and healthy relationship with your new implant.

If you want to know more about dental implant surgery, or whether implants are a suitable fit for you, why not book a consultation with our implant experts at Scott Street Dental! Call today on 02 9158 6393.