What is a dental implant?
A dental implant permanently replaces missing or damaged teeth with a titanium post that acts as a rooting system for a new crown. A dentist will install the post directly into your jaw bone where the roots of a tooth would be, allowing the new crown to be fully integrated into your bite grid.
This ensures it will mimic a real tooth and will not break or fall out while you are eating. This can be a welcome alternative to dentures as the implants are cared for as if they are normal, healthy teeth.
- Ask questions
As with any surgery, it is important to be well-informed. It will help set your mind at ease if you know what to expect, such as pre-op and post-op instructions, pain management, and how to care for yourself after the surgery.
Your dentist will be able to answer any specific questions you may have about your implant surgery, and make sure you are comfortable going into the procedure. The surgery may seem scary, but if you do some of your own research, you will discover that dental implant surgery is generally quite simple, with little chance of complications.
- Plan your schedule accordingly
Make sure you plan your surgery during a time when you don’t have any important events scheduled for at least a week following the procedure. It is important not to overexert yourself, and rest for the first three days.
Some patients may need longer to recover, depending on how many implants they had placed. You won’t know how you are going to feel until after the procedure, so it is important to keep your schedule flexible and open.
- Treat yourself
After your surgery, you will likely have to eat soft foods and take it easy for quite a while. A great way to help with nerves is to treat yourself before the procedure. Go out for dinner, or cook your favourite meal at home before you go in for surgery.
Check with your dentist about your pre-op instructions, which may include fasting, and plan your treat day around that. Doing something fun will help keep your mind occupied before your operation, and will help you go into the procedure feeling more at ease.
- Meal prep
Check with your dentist about what you will be able to eat following your surgery. Your diet will likely be restricted to softer foods for at least the first few days. Meal prepping is a great way to make sure you get all the nutrients you need while allowing you to rest and not have to worry about cooking during your recovery.
Stock your fridge and cupboards with soft foods you like to eat. Pasta and soup are great options to prepare ahead of time, and can easily be portioned and put in the freezer.
If you’re worried about getting enough fruits and vegetables, juicing and smoothies can work well and are easy to make. Meal-replacement shakes also work great and will help keep you feeling full when your food choices are limited during recovery.
- Day-of fasting
If you are undergoing sedation for your implant surgery, you may have to fast for an extended period of time before having the anesthetic. Check with your dentist for your specific pre-op instructions; typically patients have to fast between 4-12 hours before the procedure.
If you must fast, plan to eat a generous sized, healthy meal before you start, and keep hydrated with water before you head to your appointment.
- Aim for comfort
On the day of your procedure, make sure you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You will probably experience some moderate pain and swelling after your surgery, and will not want any tight or constricting clothing adding to your discomfort.
It’s also a good idea to remove all jewelry, nail polish, make-up or anything else that could irritate your skin during the procedure or while you are recovering.
- Find a ride
If you are feeling very nervous before the procedure, it can be a good idea to get a ride to the appointment as well. Then you can relax in the car and not have to worry about the commute or finding parking. You may be groggy coming out of surgery, so make sure you have written post-op instructions from your dentist to follow when you get home.
- Get lots of rest
The most important thing to remember about your implant surgery is to relax and get lots of rest, both before and after your procedure. Take at least three days off from your normal schedule, and avoid any strenuous activity until you are feeling better.
This means scheduling time off from work, school, and your regular fitness routine. It may seem tempting to jump back into everything, but you will thank yourself later if you take it easy and allow your body time to heal.
To learn more about how to prepare for implant surgery, call Guelph Family Dentistry at (888) 588-1691 or contact us here.