Last week I had another surgery on the long list of surgeries for getting dental implants. Because I didn’t receive my lateral incisor teeth in childhood, this resulted in my front upper teeth being fairly spaced out and me never smiling. My smile was always a big insecurity for me. As an adult, I finally decided to get braces. I was given 2 choices: remove a lower tooth so it could make room to bring my upper teeth together, or get 2 dental implants to replace my lateral incisor teeth. I chose the second option as I wasn’t interested in losing more teeth.
At first, I did Invisalign and it honestly didn’t work for me. After a year I moved to braces and had them on for 2-1/2 years. If you haven’t had braces yet, You can read more about that here. 2 months after my braces were removed, I was booked in to get the dental implant attached to the bone. I have clear retainers that are coloured in where my teeth should be, so you can’t tell I’m missing 2 teeth, to hold me over until the implants are complete.
Dental Implants: What to expect:
Typically dental implants work in 2 phases:
- Implant is attached to the bone
- Crown is put on the implant
This takes about 4-9 months for most people. I unfortunately am not like most people.
The implant is made of 2 parts: the post and the abutment.
I was told by my surgeon that they typically go in together and rarely is there any issues. I was the rare exception. When I woke up (yes, I had them put me to sleep… I’m ridiculous like that), they told me they were only able to put in the post and I would have to come back for the abutments.
4 months later I returned to get the abutments put in. I was informed that my left post didn’t take, and they had to remove it. I would have to come back and get the post and abutment placed again.
Last week I returned and had that surgery. They were able to put the post and the abutment in at the same time, thankfully, saving me another surgery in 4 months! Now I’ll return in 3 months for a check-up and hopefully be cleared for the crown to be placed on them. I will say, this surgery was the most painful for me as they had to do a bit of bone grafting.
Update: That implant didn’t work either. I had to go in for a larger bone graft and recently the tried for the 3rd time to install the post.
Healing from post-surgery will take more time than healing from the abutment surgery. You should expect to be in bed for at least 24 hours for both surgeries. You will also be eating soft food for 2 weeks for the post surgery and a week for the abutment surgery.
From someone who has gone through both, multiple times, here are my best tips, tricks, and must-haves to get through it.
Soft food diet is my specialty. Between my son’s cleft lip and palate surgeries, to my daughter’s tonsils and adenoid surgery, to braces being tightened, I have mastered the soft food diet. For my best Soft Food Diet options click here.
On day 1 you are only allowed cool liquids like ice cream, milkshakes (no straw!), yogurt, pudding, and jello.
- Apple Sauce
- Mashed Potatoes
Later on you can graduate to;
Also, being the queen of making surgery recovery comfortable, I always make sure my bed has a ton of pillows (my fav is this V-shaped pillow) and blankets on it. I keep a basket on my nightstand full of Advil, Tylenol, hot water bottles, and a heating pad, and I have this tray for making eating in bed easier. I dress in comfort for surgery, usually in sweats and a zip-up hoodie.
You’re going to want ice packs on hand as well. I love the magic bags as they’re easier to conform to your face, they don’t stay cold for long though, so have multiples ready to go. I am very lucky as after surgery, my kids take turns rotating the ice packs on my face while I sleep. This really helps to keep the swelling down. You will need the ice packs for the first 24 hours after surgery, then move to heating pads afterward.
Advil and Tylenol are your best friends for the next couple of weeks. You’ll get a disinfectant mouth wash as well that you will use every time you eat. This is super important to prevent infection.
If you’re wanting to do up a care package for someone about to have dental implant surgery, I strongly suggest you click here for my best tips and ideas for care packages.
If you’ve had dental implants and have anything to add, I would love to hear about it in the comments section!