Dental implants are replacements for the root structures of your missing teeth. The entire dental implant process usually takes several months, with long gaps between sessions, but the final results are always worth the effort. The dental implant process usually starts with oral surgery, necessitating significant preparation. Whether you’re just starting your dental implant journey or have an upcoming surgery, this article walks you through all the necessary preparations.
1. Comprehensive Dental Examination
You must undergo a comprehensive dental examination before your dental implant surgery. Dental implants are only possible if your teeth and gums are generally healthy with no active gum diseases, infections, or other contraindications. The dentist carefully examines your oral health to curate the ideal dental implant treatment plan to ensure optimal success and results. The dental examination usually involves x-rays and an assessment of your medical history:
If you need antibiotics before or after the surgery because of a weak immune system.
If you’re allergic to anesthesia or other dental materials used for the procedure.
If you need to temporarily stop taking certain medications that affect the anesthesia or results.
If your jaws need to be prepared for the surgery with sinus augmentation, ridge modification, etc.
If you can get the implant and abutment in a single session or multiple sessions
Patients with organ transplants and medical implants often take immunosuppressant drugs — these medications block your immune system’s natural tendency to attack the implants and transplants as foreign objects. As such, if you’re potentially immune-compromised, your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics that act as substitutes for your immune system, minimizing the risk of infections. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics, you must start taking the course before the surgery.
3. Preliminary Procedures
During your examination, the dentist might determine that your oral anatomy isn’t optimized to receive the implants. Some patients don’t have sufficient jawbone or the correct shape for implants in the desired location. The dentist may recommend preliminary procedures, like a sinus augmentation or bone grafting to make you a more suitable candidate for implants. You must schedule and go through the necessary procedures before getting implants.
Over time, the jawbone under the missing teeth can atrophy or start disintegrating due to the lack of mechanical impetus for growth. You need sufficient jawbone tissues to firmly anchor the implant. As such, if you have receding or insufficient jawbone tissues, you may need bone grafts to restore the jawbone.
A sinus augmentation is usually necessary for patients missing the upper teeth. When the upper teeth are removed, the patient is left with a thin wall separating the sinus and the mouth. However, dental implants need sufficient bone tissues to anchor properly, necessitating a sinus augmentation.
4. Downtime Preparation
Most patients experience some soreness and swelling for around one week after the implant surgery. You can manage the pain with the prescribed painkillers, but you still need to rest and avoid activities. As such, you should make a few arrangements before the surgery:
Stock up on pain medications and food.
Take at least two days off work and other social engagements.
Maintain a light schedule for at least one week.
Take a break from workouts and exercises.
Arrange for someone to help you around the house for two days.
Arrange childcare for at least two days.
5. The Day Of the Dental Implant Placement
Fast for at least 12 hours before the scheduled implant surgery because you’ll be put under general anesthesia.
Arrange to have someone drive you to and from the surgical center.
Wear loose and comfortable clothes to the clinic.
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