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What are dental implants?

Dental implants are designed to fill a gap left by an extracted or missing tooth to stop the remaining teeth from moving, which can lead to crookedness and more gaps. Dental implants can have restorative benefits by providing function and stability to a compromised smile. If a large gap in your teeth is left, it can alter the shape of your face and lead to sacrificed muscular support. A dental implant can improve the appearance of your jaw and maintain bone density and jaw muscles.

What happens during the procedure?

The first step of the surgery is to insert a titanium dental implant into the jaw bone, which will act as the root of your new tooth and eventually be covered by a dental implant crown. The implant will ensure stability and the crown will ensure the best cosmetic appearance.

What happens during recovery?

You will need to let the implant heal and bond with your jawbone once it has been placed, a process known as osseointegration. This process can take around six months and once healed, the implant will act as a structural base for your crown. Some slight discomfort may be experienced immediately after the surgery, caused by bruising, minor bleeding, swelling, and pain around the implant site. These symptoms can be treated with prescribed antibiotics and medications.

Maintaining good oral hygiene after your surgery is important in keeping the site healthy. Your dentist will discuss the appropriate oral hygiene routine to follow after your surgery.

What can I eat after my surgery?

After dental implant surgery, especially if you have had IV sedation or general anaesthesia, it is recommended that only liquids are taken for the first 24 hours. You should drink plenty of cool water from a glass, as using a straw may cause more bleeding. It is best to avoid carbonated drinks, and very hot food or drinks.

It is recommended to stick to a soft, non-chewing diet for 10-14 days after the surgery, to give the gum tissue time to heal. Patients who maintain a good diet of soft food while healing tend to feel better, have less discomfort and heal faster. Avoiding foods that may cause trauma to the gums such as nuts, popcorn, or chips is recommended.

What risks are involved with dental implants?

The risks associated with dental implants will be discussed with you during your consultation, before an examination of your health to ensure you are a candidate for this procedure. This will involve analysing the health of your body and mouth to minimise the risk of complications.

Complications during dental implant surgery are rare, however, when they do occur they are usually minor and easily treatable. Risks include:

• Infection at the implant site
• Sinus problems
• Nerve damage causing tingling, pain, or numbness in your lips, gums, chin, and teeth

Contact our Melbourne clinic if you have any inquiries about dental implants or to arrange a consultation if you have suffered dental trauma or tooth loss.

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