If you're missing one or more teeth and you want a permanent solution, dental implants can help you. These implants replace your natural teeth without the fuss of partial dentures, and unlike dental bridges, dental implants cause no damage to your surrounding, healthy teeth. During your dental implant procedure, your dentist will place a metal rod through your gums and into your jawbone; later, a prosthetic tooth will be attached to this implant. Here are four suggestions that can make your dental implant procedure as comfortable as possible:
1. Choose the right kind of anesthetic
Installing dental implants is a minor surgery, so your dentist will most likely want to perform it using local anesthesia. This technique has its benefits since your procedure will be over more quickly, and you'll be able to go home faster with local anesthesia. However, people who have extreme dental phobia may be too anxious about the prospect of having dental implants placed while they're awake. In this case, general anesthesia may be the better option.
2. Consider mild sedatives
Sedation dentistry is an option for people with mild to moderate anxiety. If you decide to choose local anesthesia but you're still feeling nervous, ask your dentist about sedative options. Nitrous oxide is a common anxiolytic used in dentistry. It's an odorless gas that can dull your anxiety during the procedure. More fearful patients may prefer an oral sedative or even an intravenous sedative. With all these sedation techniques, you will still be awake and able to cooperate with your dentist.
3. Take your pain medication on schedule
Your dentist will send you home with prescription painkillers after your dental implant procedure. You will probably want to take your first dose as soon as you get home since your mouth will begin to hurt after the anesthesia wears off. For the first couple of days, you may want to take your medication on a set schedule before you begin to experience pain. This can keep you more comfortable than waiting to feel discomfort before medicating.
4. Eat soft foods
Your mouth may feel tender at the implant site for a couple of weeks, according to Mayo Clinic. During this time, you should avoid anything that increases your discomfort. Chewing solid food may be difficult, so a modified diet can help. Smoothies, bananas, applesauce, and other soft foods will provide nourishment without hurting your teeth. If you aren't getting enough calories this way, a meal replacement beverage can help.