What To Expect During Dental Implant Recovery

What To Expect During Dental Implant Recovery

If you’re scheduled to receive dental implants to replace your missing teeth, you likely have a lot of questions about what the recovery process will look like and what the success rate is. You can rest assured knowing that the success rate of dental implants is 98%. They are very common and widely used in restorative dentistry to promote a strong jawbone, prevent shifting teeth from gaps, improve biting and chewing, keep your facial structure, and overall, boost your self-confidence. The benefits you’ll experience from dental implants are endless, but yes, the dental implant recovery time may take quite some time. However, that’s not to say it’s complicated.
Here is what you can expect during the surgical procedure and after your dental implant surgery.

How The Dental Implant Procedure Works

Dental implant surgery is typically performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon; those who specialize in surgery of the face, head, jaw and neck areas. If you have a missing tooth, a small slit will be made in your gums and the implant will be surgically attached to your jawbone. Afterwhich, your gums will be stitched up and the healing process can begin. Everyone’s healing journey will be different, but you can expect the process to take anywhere from 4-6 months for your gums and bone to completely heal. Once you’ve completely healed, your artificial tooth can be added (a dental crown) which will mimic the appearance of a natural tooth.

If you require a gum or bone graft before you receive dental implant surgery, the healing process will take even longer, however, it’s a necessary step in order to ensure you don’t experience implant failure. This step will be required if you’re experiencing gum or bone loss where you have missing teeth, or where you have tooth decay. In this case, the infected tooth will need to be removed and then when your gums heal, proceed with the next steps.

Toronto dentist holding dental implant screw in front of smiling patient

After Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implants, like all surgeries, must heal and recover before you can use them. The result of the implant surgery will require a long healing time for your jawbone and dental implant to fuse, mend and begin working together.

That said, there are several things you can do during this recovery period to make it as painless as possible, but remember to follow the aftercare instructions given to you by your oral surgeon/dentist:

Remember To Relax

After undergoing any type of oral surgery, just remember to take it easy, especially because your surgeon/dentist will provide you with pain medication that can make you feel drowsy. This is why you’ll also want a dedicated driver after your surgery is complete. You also shouldn’t be lifting anything heavy or putting your head down as this can dislodge the blood clot that is necessary for the healing process and preventing dry socket. Your surgeon may also prescribe antibiotics which should be taken as per the instructions on the bottle.

Change The Gauze Regularly

After oral surgery, it’s common to change the gauze every 30-60 minutes as it becomes soaked with blood. Once your mouth has stopped bleeding, remove the gauze. It’s best not to sleep with gauze in your mouth, but rather just keep your head elevated and minimize activity as much as possible.

Clean Carefully

Don’t try to brush your teeth for the first 24 hours. Once the 24 hours are up, rinse your mouth gently with warm, saltwater at least several times a day, but just rinse and spit gently so you do not disturb the blood clot. After 24 hours, you can also start brushing your teeth, but avoid the surgical site with your brush and opt for warmer water.

Ice Your Face

Putting ice or a cold pack on your cheeks where the implant site is can help reduce any pain and swelling. You can do this every couple of hours for 10-20 minutes at a time. After 24 hours when pain and swelling have gone down, switch to a warm pack.

Eat Soft Foods

You’ll definitely rely on eating soft foods for a few days such as apple sauce, mashed potatoes, soup (that isn’t too hot), pudding, smoothies, etc. Jumping into eating hard foods can dislodge the dental implant or your gum or bone graft.
Cordial dentist advising patient on proper dental implant care

Practice Good Oral Hygiene For Optimal Results

Ultimately, when it comes to the success of dental implants and experiencing minimal discomfort, your best bet is to follow the aftercare instructions laid out by the dental office and visiting your dentist regularly. Implant dentistry is highly successful but only if you’re willing to put in the work too. In order to avoid issues, make sure you’re practicing good oral health, relaxing after any oral surgical procedures, eating soft foods, and rinsing your mouth with warm, saltwater.

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