The clue is in the name, and you've no doubt concluded that a dental implant requires implantation. This calls for oral surgery, although the procedure is minor and not typically complex. But the fact that you require surgery may be mildly confronting, especially as the date of the procedure approaches. You'll find it useful to know what to expect.
Preparing for a Dental Implant
Unless you receive instructions to the contrary, you'll find that there's minimal effort involved in preparing for a dental implant. The oral cavity is a bacteria-rich environment, and dental work routinely releases bacteria into your bloodstream. This isn't a risk factor for most patients (the released amount is negligible in terms of the effect it has on a healthy immune system), but some may require surgical antibiotic prophylaxis. Only selected patients (such as those with a compromised immune system) will require these pre-operative antibiotics, and your dentist or oral surgeon will inform you if it's required.
Pre-Operative Pain Management
Implant surgery customarily only requires a local anesthetic. This will be injected into your gums, triggering a fast-acting numbing effect. You may have experienced this before during other dental procedures that required anesthetic. Complete sedation is reserved for complex cases, such as for patients with an abnormality of the jaw. You'll find the experience to be comparable to a standard dental checkup. Yes, it's oral surgery, yet your participation involves sitting in the treatment chair, remaining as still as possible, with your mouth held open.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will have discussed their selected technique. Each implantation requires the creation of an individual surgical guide—detailing the exact location (including angle and depth) of the implant. Implantation involves making an incision in your gums, creating flaps of gingival tissues. These are gently retracted to reveal the jawbone. A guide hole is drilled for the implant, which can then be placed. A healing abutment (a small metal disc) is routinely added to help seal the implantation site during recovery.
Postoperative Pain Management
You may be surprised that your oral surgery doesn't require specialist postoperative pain relief. Most dental implant patients can manage their discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication available from any drugstore. Your dentist can recommend a specific product, based on your anticipated needs. This will probably be simple ibuprofen, which controls your pain, while also reducing inflammation—and this is certainly beneficial following oral surgery.
Of course, your dentist will provide you with all the required information before your implant surgery. The implant is a small titanium screw placed in your jaw, which then heals around it. This creates a functional artificial tooth root but is only possible with minor, comfortingly routine oral surgery.
For more info about oral surgery, contact a local professional.