May 11, 2019
Every year, roughly 500,000 people in the United States get dental implants to replace their missing teeth. It’s easy to see why; they provide better chewing power than traditional dentures, they help keep the jawbone strong, and they create a natural look. However, like with any medical procedure, it’s important to know in advance what will happen during the surgery and how long it will take to fully recover afterwards. Here’s what you need to know about healing during the dental implant process.
What’s the Normal Recovery Time for Dental Implant Surgery?
After implants are inserted, you may experience some minor swelling, discomfort, and occasional bruising; your dentist will give you instructions for post-operative care and may also prescribe medicine for your symptoms. The total recovery period will be about 7 to 10 days. During this time, you will likely be told to only eat soft foods and to be particularly careful about brushing in the area around the implant.
In cases where bone grafting was required to prepare the jaw for implants, swelling and bruising will be more pronounced and recovery time may be longer. Your dentist will advise on the appropriate treatment and may require a few extra visits.
Bear in mind that even after your mouth recovers, the implant won’t necessarily be completely integrated yet. It can take up to three months for osseointegration to full fuse the implant with the jawbone.
What Can Impact the Healing Process?
Recovery can be disrupted by poor health habits such as smoking, poor diet, excessive drinking, and a lack of oral hygiene. Smoking can especially cause problems; it’s generally recommended to avoid it altogether for the week before and after surgery. You should also continue regular brushing to help prevent plaque buildup.
How Can I Make the Recovery Process Easier?
There are some ways to making the healing period more comfortable:
- Don’t use a hard-bristled or electric toothbrush that could damage the site. Use a soft-bristled manual toothbrush instead.
- You may want to avoid brushing around the implant on the first day. If the area is still sensitive two or three days after surgery, you can wet your toothbrush in mouthwash and clean the area gently.
- Do not lift or move your lips to look at the implant site, as this may damage the tissue.
Above all, follow your dentist’s instructions for the recovery process. Your individual situation may be unique, so other factors might affect healing time. If it’s taking longer than expected, or if you notice that your implant is feeling loose, make an appointment as soon as possible. Take care of your new teeth so that you can enjoy them in the long term.
About the Author
Dr. Christopher Pollard has been practicing dentistry for over three decades and has completed a ten-month, 320-hour maxi-course on dental implants. He provides a variety of other restorative dental services including dental crowns, wisdom teeth extraction, root canal therapy, and dentures. To schedule an appointment at his practice, Dental Renaissance, visit his website or call (972) 423-0880.
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