There are so many questions when it comes to implant treatment that we promise to provide more frequent blogs to answer them. In this blog, Dr. Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, discusses things you can do to prepare for dental implant treatment.
“The decision to have dental implant treatment and deciding who will perform that implant treatment are serious decisions,” says Dr. Jamie Alexander of Boynton Beach, Florida. “My practice is to follow a conservative, interdisciplinary protocol and consult with the implant specialists to whom I refer patients.”
From a comprehensive oral examination that we perform here in our dental office, the patient and Dr. Alexander consider possible implant treatment options and their relative costs, which implant surgeon can best plan and perform the surgical aspects of that treatment, what treatment steps will follow surgery (for example, having the implant crown designed to fit their mouth and placed on the implant), and what to expect during the process and post-treatment care of their mouth. This evaluation and consultation are an excellent opportunity to answer initial questions and determine if there are oral health issues that should be addressed before or in addition to implant treatment to restore the patient’s function and smile. Subsequent consultation and examination at the surgeon’s office will lead to a detailed treatment plan on which the surgeon and Dr. Alexander collaborate and stay in communication.
“It’s very important to me that my patients receive the highest standard of care that I would want to receive myself,” says Dr. Alexander. “That’s why I refer them to implant surgeons who have done thousands of implant procedures and have expertise in every conceivable situation. They have the technology and know-how to predictably achieve the best results. It’s also why implant surgeons refer patients to me. They know I will follow through with the highest standard of restorative and maintenance dentistry to improve the patient’s total oral health.”
The oral surgeon will carefully review your health history documented on a detailed questionnaire and discuss any medical concerns with you. The oral surgeon may require that you have your primary doctor evaluate your health within a short period prior to the surgery and complete a form that reports you are in good health and able to receive general anesthesia or moderate IV sedation on the day scheduled.
provided by your implant surgeon, so you know how to properly prepare for the day of surgery and the days that immediately follow. You don’t want to be surprised at the last minute.
The pre-operative and post-operative instructions you receive will be appropriate for the type of surgery you will have. For example, when implants are placed to retain a full-arch denture and that denture is immediately placed on the implants, the post-operative instructions are different than if you are having a bone graft or single implant and a period of osseointegration needs to occur before a prosthetic tooth can be placed on the implant and used for biting and chewing.
Pre-operative instructions might include a course of antibiotics. If you will receive the oral surgery under IV sedation, you will be instructed to stop eating and drinking within so many hours of the surgery and you will need to have a driver take you home after your surgery. Post-operative instructions may include limitations on physical activity, how to manage post-operative swelling of gums and other soft tissue around the surgical site, pain management, and recommendations for a soft food diet while the operative site initially heals. You’ll be scheduled for a return visit and told what to do if you have questions or concerns.
The amount of swelling varies, depending on the surgical procedure. Your physical activity might be limited for a couple of days. Pain and swelling around a surgical site are usually managed well with over-the-counter pain medication and intermittent cold packs held against the outside of the cheek. Other postoperative therapy may include gentle, warm salt water swishing. The body’s healing process causes swelling to naturally occur around a wound for three days and then to subside. Be prepared to not worry if swelling peaks on the third day.
With some types of dental implants, a denture is immediately placed, the tiny wound sites are covered by the denture, and you can put loading weight on your new teeth right away to eat whatever you desire. In the case of most implant-related surgeries, there is swelling at the site of the surgery, and the post-operative instructions will recommend you be prepared for a soft diet of foods that will not irritate the wound and other sensitive soft tissue in the mouth. Common favorites are cream soups, mashed potatoes, mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, and nutritional smoothies.
Keep in mind:
“My Boynton Beach area dental patients should feel free to call my office at any time with questions,” says Dr. Jamie Alexander. “I am in study clubs with oral surgeons where we collaboratively treatment plan real patients’ dental cases. We have met regularly for years, so I am quite knowledgeable about implant treatments. If you are someone who would like to become my patient and have a comprehensive dental examination, you are invited to call my office to schedule a new patient exam. We promise compassionate, respectful care that will focus on what is in your best interest.”