Getting dental implants is a relatively short, uncomplicated surgical procedure. However, what you do at home after the surgery can play a significant role in the procedure’s success. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience and a commitment to follow your dentist’s post-op instructions to maintain the best results possible.
Here is what you can expect during your dental implant surgery recovery.
What Impacts Dental Implant Recovery Time?
Getting dental implants is a surgical procedure. Each patient is unique, and recovery varies from person to person, making it difficult to predict how long this process will take. However, some factors can influence the healing process. These include:
- The number of teeth extracted and implanted.
- The location of the implants — those in the lower jawbone tend to heal faster than those in the upper arch.
- Whether bone grafting was required to complete your surgery.
- Your overall oral hygiene and the health of the bone structure.
- The rate at which your body heals.
- Smoking and hygiene habits.
What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
Recovery from dental implant surgery is a process. Coming around from anesthesia usually takes a few hours, then you’ll be allowed to recover at home. Post-surgery, you can expect a bit of pain in the first two days. You will experience a number of symptoms that are not complications. These could include:
- Bleeding of the gums for about 48 to 72 hours.
- Swelling around your cheeks, mouth and eyes for about two days.
- Discomfort for two to three days.
Your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain medication to manage any discomfort.
Your stitches should dissolve in a matter of days, but they may take up to two weeks. After the first full week, as the pain and inflammation subside, your mouth should begin to feel normal. Be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene throughout the implant healing process.
Diet During Recovery
Dentists recommend that you eat soft foods anywhere from one week to 30 days following implant surgery. For more complicated procedures, you may need to maintain a soft food diet for up to six weeks. Here are some soft foods that we recommend:
- Protein shakes
- Creamy soups
- Pureed foods
Waiting for the Implant to Take
Even as your post-op symptoms disappear, the healing process continues. During your recovery, your mouth heals and fuses with the implant. This process is called osseointegration, and it must take place before your permanent dental restoration is placed, a process that generally takes five to seven months. For some patients, total dental implant healing time before crown placement can take up to a year.
Why Avoid Smoking and Alcohol After Dental Implants?
Patients who smoke or drink alcohol during the recovery process have a higher risk of dental implant failure. Both smoking and drinking alcohol interfere with the natural healing process of the mouth and increases your risk of infection. For that reason, we recommend avoiding cigarettes and alcohol for one week or longer as you recover from implant surgery.
Learn More About Dental Implant Surgery at Dental Choice
At Dental Choice, we strive to help our patients achieve the smiles of their dreams. If you are considering dental implant surgery, we will work with you to help you understand both the surgical procedure itself and the steps that must be taken afterward to ensure your recovery is as successful as possible. To learn more, request your appointment today.
Dr. Daniel Bargrizan reviewed the content in this post.