What to Do Before Getting Dental Implants?
All About Dental Implants and How to Prepare
Dental implants rank among the most popular choices for tooth replacement. Are you thinking about joining the millions of Americans who have fallen in love with their smile again?
If you think this reliable, permanent and beautiful tooth replacement solution may be in your future, you likely have questions about what to do before getting dental implants.
Read on to learn more about what to expect leading up to the day of the procedure, and what you can do to prepare and ensure it goes off without a hitch.
Step 1: Comprehensive Examination and Consultation
This one is probably a ‘given’, but because of its importance, we wanted to make sure it was included. The only way to figure out if you’re a good candidate for dental implants is with a thorough exam, including diagnostic imaging to look at the bone structure.
At this stage you can expect:
- Review of medical history
- Full oral exam
- X-ray and/or CT imaging
- Review of your options
- Q&A session
- A plan for your tooth replacement procedure
- Scheduling follow-up and/or surgical procedures
Step 2: Jaw Preparation (if necessary)
Some patients may require additional support or enhancement to the jaw bone in order to provide a solid foundation for the implant to reside in.
- The jaw bone may be too thin or too soft to adequately hold an implanted post in place, requiring additional support or bone grafts.
- Reshaping or smoothing out of the jaw bone may be necessary
- Impacted teeth within the jaw may need to be removed
Step 3: Additional Precautions (if necessary)
In some cases, patients with an existing tooth infection, a weakened immune system, or heart complications, may be prescribed a course of antibiotics taken leading up to and after each oral surgery.
For patients with allergies to standard dental equipment and/or materials , adjustments will need to be made and alternative options provided.
In some cases, a patient’s medications may interact with anesthetic or anesthesia. In such cases, your dentist will coordinate with your doctor to adjust medications as necessary.
Smoking, as well as heavy drinking, leading up to and post-procedure may slow healing and increase the risk of implant failure. As such, you may be asked by your dentist to cut back (or eliminate them entirely) until you heal.
Step 4: Pre-Procedure Preparation
If you and your dentist have discussed the use of general anesthesia, be prepared to fast for 12 hours prior to your procedure. The day of the procedure, wear comfortable loose clothing to help you relax.
Step 5: Schedule Downtime and Prepare for After-care
Although the healing process generally goes off without a hitch, you would be wise to plan ahead for any swelling and soreness afterwards. Generally, we suggest that patients plan to have a few days of rest and recovery to take things easy. For those using anaesthesia, they may need someone to help them get safely in and out of vehicles and into their home until they regain balance.
Things you Can Do to Prepare for Post-Care:
- Stock up on any of your regular pain medication
- Have an ample supply of soft foods on hand (meal shakes are also great)
- Plan for a light schedule up to a week post-surgery
- Take a break from any exercise
- Arrange for additional assistance with childcare (if applicable) for up to two days post-procedure.
Step 7: Transportation
Ensure you have someone to drive you to and pick you up from your appointment. Even for those who don’t use anaesthesia, you’ll not likely be up to driving, and swelling could potentially be a dangerous distraction or even obscure vision.
An Ounce of Planning Makes All the Difference
Now that you know what to do before getting dental implants, you can take that knowledge and use it in your favor. With just a little preparation and planning you can ensure a smooth procedure and aid in expediting the healing process.
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