Preparing For Your Dental Implant Treatment

Useful tips for our Eltham patients who are planning to have a dental implant placed

There is a general acceptance that a dental implant offers a superior solution to dentures when it comes to replacing a missing tooth. Even with the advances made in the production of dentures over the years, the fact remains that they simply can’t offer the same level of stability as a dental implant as they don’t replicate the function of the roots of a tooth as an implant does.

The increasingly popular implant procedure does though, require minor surgery and also diligent aftercare to help ensure a successful outcome. What is perhaps less well known is that you can also increase the already very high success rate of this treatment by taking a few additional steps to prepare beforehand.

In today’s blog, we take a look at how patients of AR Smiles can best prepare for their treatment.

Good oral health care

One of the most important things that you can do to help ensure a successful outcome is to make sure that you are looking after your teeth and gums properly. Two of the biggest risks to newly placed dental implants are periodontitis and peri-implantitis, both of these are related to poor gum health and attack the supporting bone and ligament tissue surrounding the implant area making it more likely that an implant will fail.

In addition to making sure that you are brushing well with a 'healthy' toothbrush and also flossing, you should make an appointment to see our dental hygienist for a professional cleaning, also known as a ‘scale and polish’ shortly before your procedure is due. You should also follow any additional advice given to you by the dentist prior to your implant placement appointment.

Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption

One of the things that the dentist will almost certainly tell you is that you will need to quit smoking and most likely reduce your alcohol consumption for a short period of time leading up to the procedure. The main reason for this is that both of these are significant contributors to gum disease which we have already mentioned, must be avoided for a healthy implant.

Smoking should be avoided altogether and whilst you may consume a little alcohol providing that you stay well hydrated (another factor for gum disease), regular or excessive consumption should definitely be avoided. Both of these habits can also slow down healing  especially as nicotine can narrow the tiny blood vessels in the gums and slow down the blood flow which promotes a speedy recovery from any injury.

There is less information available on how vaping may impact gum disease but given that some users find that they become more dehydrated, we would recommend that you avoid this too for a while before your procedure.

Take steps to improve general health

While you don’t have to become super fit to have a dental implant procedure, it certainly helps to be as healthy as possible. There is no need to take out a gym membership but make sure to get a little more exercise to improve your heart health which will help you to recover quicker and for the implant to remain healthy. Your ‘exercise’ need be no more than walking more than you usually do and taking steps instead of elevators. A healthy diet is also recommended as the vitamins and minerals will also help with your recovery.

‘Stock up’ for the recovery period

Although you won’t need to put this into action until after the procedure, you will need to eat very soft foods for a while afterwards to allow the implant time to fuse with the bone (a process known as ‘osseointegration’) without being put under stresses such as biting and chewing.

If you don’t plan for this, you are likely to find that you have a very uninteresting diet for the initial period. Initially, you will need to eat near-liquid foods, gradually building up to softer solids such as mashed potatoes and well cooked pasta. Take a look through your recipe books or for suggestions online and do your shopping beforehand so that your cupboards are well stocked in time. With a little preparation you will be able to plan a nutritious and interesting diet that will help to make your recovery more pleasant.

Book time off work

This may not be necessary, depending on the type of work you do. Heavy physical work though is definitely not recommended. For example, anyone using a pneumatic drill would certainly be putting their new implant at risk. Even if you do a sedentary job though, we suggest that you book yourself a few days off to allow yourself to rest and get the healing process off to a good start. Don’t use this time to do DIY or physical activities such as running (as the pounding on the roads may loosen the implant) but put your feet up and relax with a good book or film.

Arrange transport home afterwards

As placing a dental implant requires an invasive treatment that is often lengthier than a regular procedure, we recommend that you arrange for someone to take you home afterwards as you may feel a little ‘out of sorts’ and this will allow you to get home comfortably without the hassle of traffic or public transport. If you have sedation for your treatment, it is essential that you arrange for someone to take you as you should definitely not drive home afterwards.

We hope that our Eltham patients found this advice useful and we are happy to answer any questions you may have on it or any general questions about this popular tooth replacement procedure. If you would like to have a consultation with our implant placement team, you can do so by calling AR Smiles today on 020 8856 7759.

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Site last updated December 2023
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