Dental implants are placed in a surgical procedure. Anesthesia is necessary for your comfort during the surgery. You may or may not require general anesthetic depending upon the number of implants you have placed.
Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants consist of an artificial tooth root and a usable crown. The root, which is made of titanium or an alloy of titanium, is set directly into the jawbone. Placing the root generally involves opening the gum tissue and then placing the implant. The artificial root is shaped like a screw, which allows it to be set securely. If you have an implant placed immediately after a tooth is lost, the implant can be placed directly into the socket without opening the gums. During the healing process, the bone bonds to the titanium. This ensures that the implants will remain stationary and also that they will be able to stimulate growth in the jawbone.
If you have one or two implants placed, you might only require local anesthetic, probably with sedation to increase your comfort. However, if you have an entire arc of teeth replaced, general anesthesia is more common. This will require some special preparation, such as not eating for a set period before surgery.
Healing After Implant Surgery
After your surgery, you’ll need to follow your aftercare instructions very closely to ensure successful healing. Without successful healing, especially the bonding process between the bone and the implant, the implants will not be successful. Typically, your care instructions will include:
Take any medications your dentist prescribes
Contact the dentist right away if there are any unusual symptoms
Use cold or heat as instructed to reduce swelling
Use salt-water rinse or prescribed mouthwash to help keep teeth clean until you can brush again
You’ll have follow-up appointments to be sure your healing is progressing properly. After the implants have completely healed, you’ll probably also have additional appointments to monitor your gums. Implants can increase the risk of gum disease, so it’s important to closely monitor your mouth for any signs of gum disease.