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What to expect after dental implant surgery?

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Dental Implants are widely used to replace missing individual or multiple teeth. They replace the roots of your teeth and allow for a connection with the crown, thus replacing the original missing tooth. They are an impressive feat of engineering that allow individuals to regain their smile and most importantly, function.

The success of a dental implant is dictated by careful assessment of your mouth, including x-rays (CT scans), along with careful planning. The process requires a sufficient amount and quality of bone in your jaw to tightly hold the dental implant. Treatment may vary depending on each case, and thus this can affect the healing after dental implant surgery. Your dentist will explain the procedure to you so that you know exactly what to expect on surgery day and after surgery.

Dental implant surgery can be surprisingly simple and with the right hands, and planning, dental implant surgery can be relatively pain free. The use of anaesthetic and proper techniques can leave patients impressed with how quickly everything heals, along with how easy the recovery can be.

If you’ve decided you are ready for a dental implant, but are a little concerned about the surgery involved, and the after care. Like most people, its normal to feel slight trepidation to any type of surgery. Thankfully, dental implant surgery has advanced allowing patients to recover as quickly as possible and thus minimising the disturbance to an individual’s day to day activities.

Similar to any type of surgery, dental implant surgery come with small risks also, fortunately, complications are rare and once identified can be treated and resolved. With the right after care protocol, patients can recover quickly with minimal discomfort.

The placement of a dental implant may occur over a period of one or two sessions, this variation is dictated by your bone and the type of procedure required to place an implant that will be successful. Your dentist will go over the plan with you and discuss what you should expect post-surgery with each appointment.
We’ve listed a few things that you should keep in mind prior to surgery day and what to do after your surgery.

Pre-surgery day

Our team at True Smiles Dental, Marrickville are an experienced team that can help you prepare for any treatment you may undergo. We will give you instructions prior to treatment and are here to help you with any questions you may have. Some of the common questions that are asked include:

  • Can I drive after?
    • Depending on the surgery involved, and how we proceed with treatment, whether you are sedated or not, will dictate whether you need someone to accompany you. If you are deciding to have treatment under IV sedation, then we advise all of our patients to be accompanied for treatment and to aid with escorting you home.
    • Patients that do not have sedation and choose to have treatment under anaesthesia, technically, are able to drive following treatment. We recommend you have someone with you to accompany home just to be safe
  • How many days off do I need?
    • Implant surgery can be vary depending on the surgery that is required, but in general, we recommend patients taking at least 1-2 days off work for recovery. Although some patients may recover quickly, everyone is different, and so it is difficult to anticipate how much time you will need off. Keep in mind, that more extensive surgery is associated with an increased recovery time. Your dentist will advise you accordingly beforehand.
  • Do I need antibiotics beforehand?
    • In most situations, antibiotics prior to any surgery is reserved for individuals with underlying medical concerns. For the larger populace that are otherwise healthy, the use of antibiotics prior to treatment is not warranted.
  • How much pain am I expecting?
    • During treatment, anaesthetic will be provided and is more than sufficient to render a pain free surgery. Treatment is straightforward once anaesthesia has been administered, with most patients only complaining of slight pressure if at all.

Post Treatment

After treatment is completed, our team will outline your post operative care instructions prior to discharge. It is imperative that you maintain good oral hygiene for the success of your implant, along with maintaining the rest of the mouth. The success of an implant can be decided based on how well you take care of the surgery site, so it is important to address some of the issues that may arise after your implant surgery. Even after your implant has healed and a new crown has been placed, an implant should be treated like any other tooth in the mouth. Therefore, to avoid future problems, we recommend you maintain regular dental check-ups and practice good oral hygiene.

Shortly after implant surgery, some patients may experience a variety of symptoms, we’ve listed a few that are commonly associated with implant surgery:

  • Pain
    • A slight bit of discomfort is common at the surgical site due to the procedure required to place. Most patients will only feel a little bit of pain which can be easily managed with over-the-counter medication.
    • More involved surgery may result in further discomfort for patients, your dentist may prescribe you with medication to help. The pain and discomfort will usefully subside within a few days after surgery.
    • We recommend following pain relief instructions as indicated by the packaging or as instructed by your dentist.
  • Swelling
    • For most implant surgeries, there is little to no swelling around the surgical site. Some patients may feel the area will swell slightly, but not so much that it will be obvious. An ice pack shortly after surgery will help keep the swelling to a minimal.
    • Swelling should subside within a few days after treatment. Use of ice packs after the first day will not be effective.
  • Bleeding
    • It is normal that you may experience a small amount of bleeding shortly after implant placement. Your dentist may place some stitches in your mouth to help cease bleeding. By applying pressure from a piece of gauze for 20-30 minutes, bleeding should subside. If bleeding continues, we recommend using another gauze pad for another 30 minutes until bleeding stops. In most cases, this should be sufficient to stop any bleeding. Should the site continue to bleed, we recommend contacting your dentist immediately for further advice.
    • Bleeding is important for proper healing of the site, so we are not concerned with a small amount of bleeding in the area. We do not want the area to be bleeding profusely. Most bleeding can be stopped with good pressure from a piece of gauze for 30 minutes.
  • Infection
    • Although unlikely, infection is possible should the surgical site be agitated for any reason. This can result in bacteria forming around the site which can lead to infection. Ensuring good oral hygiene and following the after-care instructions provided by your dentist should prevent this.
    • Use of antibiotics may be prescribed to you from your dentist, this may not always be the case.
  • Food and drink
    • Similar to teeth extractions, we recommend a soft diet for the first few days. A soft, and warm diet is recommended to minimise the risk of agitating the area. The treatment site may be tender and sore, so it is best to start with foods that don’t require too much chewing to begin with. We recommend avoiding any seed like foods that are small and can get stuck in the surgical site which can result in infection.
    • Fluids is important, and we highly recommend staying hydrated
  • Exercise
    • In order for your surgical site to heal as fast as possible, we recommend restricting any physical activity for at least 1-2 days after treatment. Taking a few days off to rest is recommended
  • Oral Hygiene
    • Your oral hygiene is imperative for healing, but also for long term success of your implant. A warm saltwater rinse on the night of surgery is recommended or a chlorhexidine mouth rinse. We recommend 2-3 times daily for about a week. It’s important to remember that rinsing should not be vigorous as to not agitate the surgical site and cause unnecessary bleeding.
    • Brushing can be performed as normal, but extra care is to be taken around the surgical site
    • Flossing is always recommended!

Ensuring the success of an implant is not just up to the dentist, your responsibilities in home care will dictate successful healing and a good outcome. We’ve listed the most common issues that may arise following implant surgery and hope that this will help to reinforce the message or provide valuable information for those that are interested in dental implants. For most cases, dental implant surgery can be straightforward with minimal to no pain associated. Combined with the appropriate measures to ensure a healthy mouth through regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments, dental implants can be safe, predictable and life changing.

The team at True Smiles Dental, Marrickville are well equipped to provide you with any further questions regarding dental implants, call us on (02) 7228 7272, or book online at