Your teeth play a critical role in your appearance, but it’s easy to underestimate how large that role really is. If you’re considering dental cosmetics, it’s important to understand what is (and isn’t) an ideal scenario — especially if you’re considering them because of an injury or tooth loss.
Let’s take a look at what the ideal conditions for dental surgery are, and what risks you’ll face in non-ideal situations. Dental surgery is complex, and the science behind it advances every day, but the decisions made by patients can still have a large impact on the expected outcomes.
The Earlier the Better
Time is a critical component of successful dental surgery that’s often underestimated by potential patients. The difference of even a few hours or a day can change the conversation from “can a displaced tooth be reattached?” to “can a misplaced tooth be replaced with a dental implant?” and further extents — waiting weeks, months, or even years — makes the surgical process incrementally harder.
A young patient who receives prompt treatment can expect extremely favorable results and reasonable recovery times. Significant cosmetic surgery — complicated orthodontics, full bridges, jaw restructuring, etc — can be performed on these patients with comparatively little risk, as long as it’s done promptly.
The Dangers of Waiting
When patients wait in the short term (in the scale of hours and days) after experiencing a dental injury to pursue surgery, a couple of things happen. Their risk of infection increases sharply, and the odds of damaged or displaced teeth surviving falls proportionately. When surgery does take place, the need to remove infected tissue consequently limits the dental surgeon’s ability to restructure the gum line, reducing the odds of a favorable cosmetic outcome. The timing really is crucial.
When patients wait longer, delaying procedures by months or years, the recovery process is impacted. To simplify a rather complex process, the longer you wait to have the surgery, the longer it takes to recover from it; and for some patients, too long of a wait can result in the implant not anchoring to the bone. This increases the risk of post-surgical infection and post-surgical injury, especially among elderly patients.
I Waited — Am I Out of Luck?
You aren’t. While the comparative outcomes (averaged across millions of patients per year) are different, the qualitative impact is still inarguably positive. You don’t need to be a “best case” patient to benefit from dental cosmetic surgery, and even “worst case” patients see positive outcomes at the end of the day.
Dental cosmetic surgery can be life-changing. Many people with dental injuries find them to be subconscious confidence killers, and that lack of confidence can infect everything from employability to lifestyle satisfaction; improving your smile can improve your life!
Replacing a missing tooth, getting a full bridge, changing the shape and profile of your teeth through crowns and reshaping — all of these options add up. They can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches, improve the appearance of your jaw and face, help you feel more confident in social situations, and they can prevent future issues that are caused by missing or damaged teeth. The benefits are numerous and the procedures are reliable.
The only caveat, of course, is your own dental hygiene. The negative outcomes associated with waiting to perform dental surgery are heavily influenced by the habits of the people who receive the surgery, and there’s a natural correlation between undervaluing dental health in general and deciding that timely dental care isn’t important. In short, brush your teeth.
What to Discuss with Dr. Halsema
If you’re considering dental surgery, talk to Dr. Halsema. You don’t need to make the decision alone, and talking through the process with a dentist you trust can make the entire process a lot less scary. The options available to you are diverse and customized care is crucial; click here to schedule a consultation.
Here are a few of the important details you should cover:
- Your dental care history
- Your objectives, even if they’re somewhat tangential to dental cosmetics
- Your general health, and any relevant details concerning immunodeficiency or bone health
- Your availability for follow-up appointments post-surgery
By coordinating your pre and post-surgery care with Dr. Halsema, you can reduce your recovery time and improve the overall results of your dental cosmetic surgery. By actively managing your post-surgical dental hygiene and tracking the recovery process through imaging and inspection, you can significantly reduce the odds of post-surgical complications.