Your Dental Implant Recovery Guide
Dental implant surgery is a dental procedure that replaces an individual tooth or teeth with a dental prosthesis, usually consisting of titanium posts and crowns. This guide will walk you through the recovery process after dental implant surgery so that you are well prepared for what to expect.
Recovering from dental implant surgery is a lot of work, but it’s all worth it in the end. Follow these steps to make your dental implant recovery process as pain-free and easy as possible:
- Keep your dental implant site clean and healthy. You can also rinse with saltwater, which may help reduce swelling in the gums at the dental implant site.
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief if you need it. Tylenol is often considered safe for use after dental implant surgery.
- Apply ice packs to the dental implant site up to three times a day for 15 minutes at a time.
- Eat soft foods and drink lots of fluids in order to keep your dental implant site healthy.
- Get plenty of rest to avoid any dental implant site complications such as dry socket, a painful bone infection that can develop after dental surgery. Dry sockets can also develop if you don’t take care of your oral health and gums properly.
- Take prescription antibiotics at the right time (usually within 24 hours) to guard against any possible infection. It is also important to take dental implant medication as instructed by your dental care provider.
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol to reduce the risk of developing a dry socket, which requires surgery and can cause significant pain that may last for weeks.
- Get plenty of rest by avoiding participating in any physical activity or engaging in work (or other activities) beyond your normal routine while still recovering from your dental implant surgery. Do not take any medication with acetaminophen without medical approval from a dental care provider as it may lead to liver damage when combined with ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol after dental implant surgery which can cause severe dental implant site complications like dry socket (bone infection). Dry sockets occur when the blood flow around your mouth is not sufficient because of lack of oxygenated blood supply. Dry sockets are extremely painful and may require surgical intervention.
Dental Implant Recovery: How Long Will It Take?
Whether your dentist performs the procedure in one session or over several appointments, it is possible that you can experience discomfort. Fortunately, the discomfort you will experience is often only minimal. The discomfort can be attributed to:
- Bruising of the skin and gums
- Swelling of the face and gums
- Minor bleeding
- Pain in the implant area
As mentioned earlier, you might be prescribed antibiotics or pain medicines following your implant procedure. If swelling, discomfort, or other issues worsen, visit your dentist right away.
After every surgery stage, consuming soft foods is recommended until the surgical area heals completely. Typically, self-dissolving stitches will be used. Otherwise, the stitches will be removed by your dentist.
Often, there’s no set recovery period for patients who undergo dental implant surgery since many factors can affect the recovery time. Some of the factors include:
- The number of teeth extracted and implanted (whole jaw, multiple, or single)
- If the patient has enough bones to support the implant and hold it in place
- If bone grafting is necessary
- Healing time and individual preferences
Lifestyle choices can also have an impact on dental implant healing time. Case in point: if you smoke heavily, you need to stop smoking or at least minimize it drastically for at least a week or two after the procedure.
Smoking after the procedure can lengthen recovery time and might hinder the healing process. This is especially true if you had bone grafting done.