By David Hudnall, DMD
Denture implants are a wonderful treatment alternative that can transform difficult-to-wear dentures into a restoration with improved comfort, security, and appearance. Having denture implants is life-changing, allowing you to enjoy foods you have longed to eat once again.
If your denture is to function like natural teeth, it requires undergoing a surgical procedure to place implants in the jawbone, followed by a recovery and healing phase. Let’s discuss what to expect during the dental implant healing stages.
Patient Assessment for Dental Implant Surgery
Denture implant placement is a surgical procedure that requires advanced planning to ensure the best possible outcome. If you are considering having denture implants placed, the dentist will want to conduct a consultation to plan and discuss your treatment. This appointment includes:
- Thorough examination of your mouth and any dentures that you are currently wearing
- Review of your medical history in great detail
- X-rays or CT scan of the jaws
- Physical or digital impressions of your jawbone
- Discussion of the overall procedure and possible scenarios for recovery and implant restoration
There are many good reasons for performing denture implant surgery, including:
- Improved denture stability
- Preservation of bone and gum tissue to properly support your face
- Improved appearance
- Improved ability to chew
- Improved comfort
There are also contraindications, or obstacles, that must be addressed to improve the chances for a favorable surgical outcome. Some of the items that must be taken into consideration include:
- Insufficient bone to support denture implants in their ideal location in all dimensions
- The need for bone graft surgery before implant placement
- Chronic health issues such as autoimmune diseases, uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure, nutritional deficiencies that must be corrected for the treatment to proceed safely
- Smoking which restricts blood flow to the tissues, slowing the healing process
- Poor oral home care
Having dentures supported by dental implants allow you to eat, smile, and laugh with confidence. But, like any surgery, there are inherent risks, and the outcome is never guaranteed. These evaluations and assessments in advance of dental implant surgery are to improve your chances for a successful result.
Dental Implant Surgery Process
Every patient’s treatment sequence may vary, depending on their individual needs. Once the dentist has arranged and scheduled your surgery, your implant placement appointment will go something like this:
- Review your health history once again.
- Vital signs are taken and recorded.
- Numb the patient’s mouth using a local anesthetic.
- The surgeon opens the gum tissue to access the areas intended for treatment.
- Create a pilot hole in the desired location.
- Widen the pilot hole to accommodate the diameter of the implant.
- The dental implant is screwed into place to flush its top edge with the surrounding bone.
- Repeat the process with any additional implants.
- Cover screws are placed on the top of each implant to prevent debris from falling into its central access channel.
- The gum tissue is closed with stitches, covering the implants entirely while they heal.
Most patients receive a temporary denture, or their existing denture is modified to wear during the implant healing phase, which takes about 4 to 6 months for most patients.
Dental Implant Healing Stages
Initial recovery period after denture implant surgery can vary depending upon the individual patient, the number of implants placed, and how you manage your recovery process. Most patients experience mild discomfort, soreness, slight swelling, and occasional bruising for the first few days after receiving treatment. These issues are usually managed with medications that the dentist will prescribe.
A diet of soft foods and gentle brushing of the affected area are advised for the first few days after surgery. For some patients, the stitches themselves can prove to be a source of discomfort or aggravation that resolves only after they are removed. In any event, the patient can expect to resume their normal diet and get back to a regular routine within 7 to 10 days. Improvement should gradually occur with each passing day.
What To Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
Complete healing and implant integration with the jawbone takes, on average, four to six months to occur. However, most patients don’t have any symptoms beyond their dental implant procedure and can conduct their lives as usual.
While dental implant placement enjoys a 95% success rate and the procedure has become a relatively routine surgery, there are cases where the body does not respond to the treatment as predicted. It is possible for implants to fail or be rejected for no apparent reason.
Although implant failure can occur at any time during the implant’s life, the highest incidence of implant failure occurs within the first three to four months after placement. This is when patients need to be on alert and look for signs that something is amiss.
Warning Signs That Something is Wrong
Contact your implant surgeon right away if you experience symptoms during the dental implant healing stages. Here are some signs that indicate something is wrong:
- Intense or worsening pain
- Ongoing soreness around an implant that doesn’t resolve
- Swelling that becomes worse with time
- Inflamed gum tissue
- Implant exposure; the gum tissue no longer covers the implant
The longer you delay seeking care, the greater suffering you will experience. An implant that does not osseointegrate with the bone must be removed for the symptoms to resolve and prevent further destruction of the surrounding tissues.
Sometimes, it is possible to perform bone grafting to restore the bone and place another implant at a later time. Your surgeon will advise you on the best way to modify your treatment plan for your specific situation.
Tips for Recovery After Dental Implants
To make dental implant recovery as expedient as possible, we offer some general tips to help with the dental implant healing stages that occur soon after placement.
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat soft, nutritious foods
- Stay hydrated
- Use an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to minimize swelling during the first few hours after surgery
- Use warm salt water rinses 3 to 4 times daily to promote healing starting the day after surgery
- Avoid smoking or the use of tobacco products
- Practice good oral hygiene; clean surgical sites heal more quickly
Implant Solutions To Improve Your Life
Permanent denture implants may be the answer to boosting your health and improving your enjoyment of all that life has to offer. Implant overdentures and the all-on-4 procedure are just two of the types of denture implants offered by European Denture Center.
Why settle for dentures that can slip when implant dentures offer you so much more? Take advantage of our affordable denture implant pricing by scheduling your consultation today. You’ll be glad you did!