Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth. They are strong and durable, and with proper care, can last a lifetime. The healing process after dental implants is essential to the success of the surgery. Recovery times vary from patient to patient, but here’s what you can expect in the days and weeks following your dental implant surgery.
Day of Surgery
Immediately after your surgery, you may feel a little groggy due to the sedation and numbing medications administered during the procedure. Your gums will be tender and minor bleeding is common. These are all normal side effects and should subside within a day or two.
After surgery, your surgeon will place a gauze pad over your healed wound. It is important to bite down on this and keep it in place for 30-60 minutes so the blood clots properly at the surgical site. You may need to swap out a few new gauze pads before the bleeding stops. Make sure to dampen the gauze before you place it over the surgical site. If you place dry gauze in and you pull it out, it will pull the clot out and you could continue to bleed.
To help with the pain and swelling, take over-the-counter pain medication as directed by your doctor and apply ice to your face, 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Never apply an ice pack directly to the skin.
When you arrive home, make sure to rest and avoid physical activities as much as possible. Keep your head elevated with extra pillows to reduce swelling and discomfort while you sleep.
For the first 1-3 days following surgery, it’s important to take extra care of your body and the implant site to aid in healing and avoid pain or complications. You will likely experience swelling and some pain during this time, but these should begin to lessen within 48 hours.
You should eat soft foods during this period. Examples of soft foods include mashed potatoes, eggs, yogurt, soup, and smoothies. Avoid foods that are hard to chew or crunchy foods that can get stuck in your teeth, such as popcorn and nuts. Do not use a straw for drinking if you had a sinus lift bone graft done at the time of implant placement.
It’s also important to clean the implant area without brushing directly on it. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and carefully clean around the area. You can also use a prescription mouth rinse or saltwater rinse for gentle cleaning. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, stir, and swish for 30 seconds. Do this after every meal and before bed.
One Week After Surgery
After only one week, you should feel a noticeable decrease in pain. Your mouth may be tender, but this will gradually lessen over time. You can start incorporating different foods back into your diet, like pasta – just remember to chew on the other side of the implant site whenever possible!
To ensure a successful recovery after surgery, follow the post-surgical instructions given to you by your surgeon. If you were prescribed antibiotics, make sure to finish the complete course of medication.
- Take extra care with oral hygiene for the first few weeks after surgery
- Avoid high-impact or contact sports
- Maintain good eating habits and a healthy diet
- Don’t skip follow-up appointments
Two Weeks After Surgery
Two weeks after the surgery, a follow-up appointment should be performed to ensure the implant is in place and healing correctly. Minor discomfort when the area is touched may occur, but overall the implant site should be mostly pain free.
If dissolvable sutures were used during the procedure, they should have dissolved by now. But if not, book an appointment with your surgeon to have them removed properly. Never pull or try to remove sutures yourself.
Months After Surgery
Months after surgery, osseointegration continues to occur; this is the process of integration between the implant and the surrounding jawbone. Over time, living bone cells will grow around the implant, forming a strong bond and allowing it to act as an artificial tooth root. This process can take 3-6 months, depending on the individual. Oral care and maintenance should continue as usual to ensure successful healing.
When the implant has sufficiently healed, your surgeon will attach a permanent crown or prosthetic device to the implant post, restoring the full function and aesthetics of the tooth or teeth that were missing.
Healthy Smiles and Successful Implants
The recovery process for dental implants can be relatively easy as long as the proper care is taken before and after implant surgery. With a few simple steps, you can help ensure that your implant heals correctly and stands the test of time. At Foley & Le Oral Surgeons, we want you to love your smile! With our experienced and dedicated team of professionals, we are here to provide you with comprehensive and specialized care for all of your dental needs. If you are searching for dental implants in Boulder, CO or dental implants near me, we can help. To schedule an appointment, call (303) 444-2255 or complete the online booking form.