More and more people are turning away from dentures and complicated crown and bridge options when it comes to replacing missing or broken teeth.
The advantages of implants are that they are (almost) permanent, they are fixed into the jaw so there’s almost no chance of them becoming loose and, above all, they look and feel natural.
Of course, having dental implants isn’t a trivial or quick undertaking – it can take as long as a year to complete the treatment as it has to be done in several stages, especially if you need bone or tissue grafts. However, once an implant is in, it’s in and you can smile with confidence again.
One of the things people worry about with dental implants is the post-operative pain. This is understandable, as it’s a complex and invasive procedure, but managed carefully, the pain can be controlled and minimised, allowing you to get back to normal within three or four days.
Here are some useful tips to prepare you for recovery:
Have painkillers ready
Most dentists recommend ibuprofen. If you’re having your dental implants in Dublin, Docklands Dental recommends alternating ibuprofen and paracetamol every three hours. For example, you take ibuprofen at 9.00am, then paracetamol at 12.00pm, then another ibuprofen at 3.00pm, and so on. This means you always have some form of pain relief so you don’t suffer while you wait for your next dose.
If you need more complex implant surgery, like bone grafts or sinus lifting, then you’ll probably need a prescription for a stronger painkiller for the first two days.
Try hot and cold compresses
A cold compress can really help in the first couple of days. Try holding it to your face for 15 minutes, then taking it away for 15 minutes. It’ll help to reduce swelling and the coldness will be a distraction. Many people say that a cold compress in conjunction with lavender or geranium oil is very soothing. At the very least, the lovely smell will give you some comfort. After 48 hours, you can alternate the cold compress with a warm one. This brings blood flow to the area and promotes healing.
Take it easy
It’s important that you rest for at least 72 hours after your procedure. Don’t do anything strenuous – no energetic workouts, no DIY, not even yoga. Even if you feel OK and not in too much pain, you’re still healing so you shouldn’t do anything to compromise that; even bending down can cause discomfort and could start off some bleeding. After 72 hours, if you feel better, you can resume light exercise, but stop if you’re in pain.
Eat very carefully
You might fantasise about that rare steak and chips once you’re back home, but it’s really not a good idea. You should only eat soft foods, so buy in some yoghurts, make some soup, scramble some eggs, indulge in some ice cream (it’s therapeutic, ok?). After three days, you can try some fish or something similar, but be careful to chew on the opposite side to the implant.