Dental implants provide significant advantages to your health, quality of life and comfort. While dental implants involve a strategic yet straightforward oral surgery, the recovery and healing process after surgery is paramount. In fact, the long-term success of your dental implant is based on the healing of the implant and its ability to properly fuse to the underlying bone after surgery. Therefore, it is important that you have a full understanding about what you can expect during your dental implant recovery, including after-care instructions and timing.
What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
Patients should expect some mild discomfort for the first couple of days after dental implant surgery. Swelling and minor bleeding are also normal for the first 2-3 days. However, symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter (or prescribed) pain medications, a cold compress and adhering to the post-operative instructions outlined by your implant dentist. The following recommendations are typically given in the beginning for a smooth and uncomplicated recovery:
- Stick to a soft-foods diet
- Avoid hot foods and drinks
- Absolutely NO smoking
- Do NOT use a straw
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Continue oral hygiene routine
- Follow mouth rinse instructions
There will be specific timelines for the above-mentioned guidelines depending on your unique dental implant case. In general, patients find that their mouth begins to feel normal after the first full week, or when the inflammation and pain has subsided. This will also be a time in which your risk for infection is greatly reduced. If you have questions about what is normal and what is not, always reach out to your dentist. The healing process is critical to the success of the implant and the protection of your restorative dentistry investment, so do not be afraid to ask questions or bring up your concerns.
How Long Will Implant Recovery Take?
Many patients want to know just how long their downtime will be after getting dental implants. The answer is not straightforward. Every patient brings a unique situation and specific clinical needs. In addition, dental implants involve several steps, including implant surgery and implant restoration placement. Some patients may also need an extraction and/or bone grafting. Therefore, your proposed downtime after getting dental implants will be based on several factors, such as the following:
- Your age
- The status of your overall health
- Your compliance with not smoking
- Proper management of diabetes or other medical conditions
- How many dental implants are needed
- The location of the implants within your mouth
- Needed tooth extraction
- Bone grafting prior to implant placement
In general, patients who only need a single dental implant usually return to work the very next day. Multiple implants may require a few days of downtime. As expected, older patients heal slower than younger ones. Likewise, those who smoke or have uncontrolled diabetes can expect a longer and potentially more complicated healing period. The upper arch of teeth may heal slower than the bottom. In addition, a bone graft can also prolong the process.
Your downtime after dental implants shouldn’t be unbearable. In fact, most patients only deal with temporary soreness. You will be asked to stick to a soft foods diet for a period of time. Following your dentist’s orders after implant surgery is very important, as the healing and osseointegration phase of your dental implants is by far the most critical to your long-term success. Overall, dental implants can completely heal in about 4-6 months.
Learn More From an Implant Dentist
At Group Health Dental, we strive to inform patients as much as possible in terms of what to expect with getting dental implants. We do this based on your individual situation. We also understand that life is busy and demanding and that downtime is a valid consideration. You can trust that we will use our skill and expertise in implant dentistry to minimize the discomfort and downtime of your recovery process as much as possible. When facing dental implant surgery, keep in mind that you are making a temporary sacrifice for a lifetime of a confident, healthy smile! Call our New York office today to schedule your consult.