Recovering after Dental Implant Surgery
By on December 10, 2013
Gaps in your smile can be embarrassing and a nuisance, but they can also lead to greater dental complications. With dental implants, patients can fully restore the appearance and functionality of lost teeth. Whether through single or multiple implants, nearly all types of tooth loss can be permanently resolved.
After undergoing an implant procedure, patients should be prepared for both the short-term and long-term stages of recovery. We recommend that our Clarksville patients familiarize themselves with the recovery process, while following a few simple tips for successful implant treatment.
Implant surgery carries few risks and mild side effects, all of which should subside within the first week or two. Still, it is important to know what to expect and plan accordingly.
After arriving home from surgery, you should rest for the remainder of the day. Your mouth will likely still be numb from anesthesia, but you should begin taking painkilling medication at your dentist’s earliest recommendation, as it is easier to stop discomfort before its onset. Additionally, there may be light bleeding around the implant immediately after surgery, which should be suppressed through the application of gauze. If pain and bleeding cannot be controlled after a few hours, contact your dentist.
During the first week of recovery, the following side effects can be expected:
- Facial swelling: Your jaw may swell near the area of surgery, especially if multiple implants have been installed. This can be reduced through the intermittent use of an ice pack or cold compress over the first 48 hours.
- Bruising: It’s not uncommon for minor bruising to appear around the jaw or cheek, most notably after two to three days. Similar to swelling, the initial application of an ice pack may help alleviate this.
- Discomfort: You can expect some degree of pain or tenderness near the implants, particularly in the first few days, which should resolve within a week. The use of prescription or over-the-counter pain medication should be a suitable way to curb discomfort during this time.
The severity of these effects differs from patient to patient, depending on oral health and prior dental history. Those who required a bone graft prior to implant surgery tend to experience more noticeable side effects. For nearly all patients, however, recovery is easily manageable and poses little concern.
Long-term Recovery and Osseointegration
After seven to ten days, side effects should dissipate. Regardless, it will still take months for the jaw bone to fully heal around the implant. This bone fusion process is called osseointegration, and it is a necessary step in order for an implant to be naturally bonded with the jaw, similar to the roots of a real tooth. The exact length of this process varies, but most patients can expect osseointegration to complete in three to six months.
During this time, the implant will be capped with a temporary crown to protect it. Once ready, a permanent crown will be cemented on, creating a superior replacement with all the aesthetics and support of a natural tooth.
Tips During Recovery
To make the most of your procedure and prevent implant failure, consider the below DOs and DON’Ts of implant recovery:
- DO eat smart: Foods that are particularly hard or chewy may disrupt your implant by putting stress on it or pulling it out of place. Avoid such foods early on and whenever possible at any point in recovery. Similarly, avoid chewing on the implant itself by pushing food to the opposite side of your mouth.
- DO practice good hygiene: Keeping an implant clean is important for preventing disease and infection. Brush your teeth twice a day, while flossing the teeth around it gently daily. While you should avoid contact with the implant during the first two days of recovery, maintain diligent hygiene habits afterward.
- DON’T smoke: Smoking and tobacco use can greatly increase the risk of implant failure, especially during recovery. If you are already a tobacco user, speak with your dentist about temporary (or permanent) cessation.
- DON’T overexert yourself: In the first week of recovery, be mindful of your body. Try to relax early on, while avoiding exercise or activities that require you to bend over. At all stages of the healing process, try to avoid any stress or injury to your mouth and jaw.
Prepare for Successful Implants
If you are considering dental implants or have recently had an implant procedure, let us help you make the right decisions for your recovery. Contact our office to inquire about your implant treatment or to schedule a consultation.
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“Dr. Ribeiro has been my dentist for many years, and he has always provided exceptional service. His staff is very professional and courteous. They always go out of their way to ensure I have a pleasant experience.” Tina Reed