You’re probably excited to start enjoying a brighter, healthier smile after dental implants. The implant placement is the first half the process. The next half is the recovery process. Here’s what you should expect after the implant procedure.
What to expect immediately after the dental implant procedure
Everyone has a slightly different experience after oral surgery. If your oral surgeon used IV sedation for your implant procedure, you might feel a little woozy or lightheaded for a while. This feeling might last for two to several hours afterward.
Because of the grogginess, we advise that you arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up after the procedure. A ride-share service (i.e., Uber or Lyft) may be a more convenient solution, provided there’s someone at home to assist with your care.
You should recover mostly at home. After two months or so, you may need to return to the dental office for the second phase of the procedure. In the meantime, the jawbone should start growing around the implanted tooth.
Managing the pain: How long will the pain last?
After your dental implant surgery, it’s completely normal to experience some discomfort and pain. You might notice some bruising around your gums, swelling in your face and gums, minor bleeding, and some pain at the implant site. These should go away in a few days.
The American Dental Association recommends stocking up on soft foods to eat post-op, and having ice packs on hand to reduce swelling. Warm soups and cold foods are also helpful during this period. They tend not to aggravate the pain.
Avoid using tobacco products, as they can stain your new dental implant and increase your risk of infections, particularly in the root canal. If you do require root canal treatment, be sure to talk to your dentist or oral surgeon.
Managing pain after dental implant surgery can be done. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, an ibuprofen (such as Tylenol) and other over-the-counter medicines should work. Rarely will you need stronger prescription medications.
The overall discomfort and pain should improve over a week or two. This healing duration may be shorter or longer, based on the individual and the type of dental implant procedure.
Pain duration after a simple dental implant surgery
If you’re getting only one tooth replaced and your bone is strong, you’ll likely only experience minor discomfort for a few weeks. If your implant placement was a simple procedure without gum bone grafting, you may only have minimal swelling and mild discomfort that could last a few days. Your oral surgeon can prescribe medication to help alleviate any pain.
As you recover, it’s best to eat soft foods for about a week to ten days. The Mayo Clinic advises to avoid crunchy, chewy or hard foods such as ice and hard candy – which can break your crowns or natural teeth. such as ice and hard candy, which can break your crowns — or your natural teeth. Avoid tooth-staining tobacco and caffeine products. and avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy ones. During this time, get rest and comfortably return to your normal routine of activities.
Pain duration after a complicated dental implant surgery
If you had a more complex surgery or multiple implants placed, you might experience additional discomfort during the healing process. Don’t be alarmed if your healing journey after a complicated dental implant surgery takes longer than others. This is to be expected.
To help speed up the recovery, your dentist may recommend a soft diet for approximately six weeks after the procedure. Avoid tough and crunchy foods like raw carrots, and choose smoothies, soups, mashed potatoes, and other soft foods.
Healing duration: How long will dental implants take to heal?
Your recovery won’t follow a specific timeline. While some people may fully recover a few weeks after dental implant surgery, others will take up to nine months or even longer. It greatly depends on your oral health and the type of surgery you had.
In most cases, patients (especially older adults) undergo a complicated dental implant surgery that includes multiple bone/gum graftings. In these cases, it’s normal for the healing process to take longer. The same is true when several teeth need removal and replacement.
The healing process can range between 3 and 9 months, depending on your jawbone’s health and the procedure’s complexity. For instance, if you have a sturdy jawbone and have had a single tooth replaced, the initial healing process should take about 7-10 days.
The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that implants take 3-6 months to completely enmesh with the jawbone. The exact timing will depend on your overall health, which includes your oral hygiene, medical conditions, and immunity level. Discuss these with your dentist during the first consultation.
Your lifestyle choices area a factor in the healing process. They can shorten or prolong your dental implant healing time. For example, according to Mayo Clinic, smoking can increase the risk of implant problems and even failure if you are a smoker. It can also lengthen the recovery time. Quitting or reducing smoking will improve the chances of a successful and quicker dental implant recovery.
Dental implant recovery nutrition
What you eat will immensely impact your dental implant recovery. It’s best to have plenty of nutrients to help boost your recovery. At the same time, be careful to avoid foods and drinks that might cause discomfort and pain.
Stay away for foods and beverages that will disturb the clots as they repair wounds. This includes alcohol, sodas, other carbonated beverages, and drinking through a straw. This recommendation also pertains to foods that are chewy or tough.
Instead, eat soft or mashed foods. The ADA recommends smoothies, soups, ripe or cooked fruit, yogurts, and gelatins. A few healthy and implant-friendly options include:
- Bananas – The banana is chock-full of beneficial minerals and vitamins. Bananas are also filling and taste great, eaten whole or in a smoothie.
- Cooked or baked beans – For a soft option jam-packed with protein, look no further than beans. They’re great mashed and in warm soups.
- Fish – Fish is a great soft food during the dental implant recovery. Oily fish contain healthy omega-3 fats, which helps speed the recovery.
- Avocado – Stock up on avocados to be eaten or made into fresh guacamole. You can even sprinkle on a little salt or mild condiments for added flavor.
- Healthy smoothies and juices – Avoid overly-acidic juices and instead create healthy juice smoothies. The fresher, the better.
A soft-food diet is a must soon after your dental implant surgery. Even during the later stages of the healing process, it pays to bypass foods and drinks that are spicy, rough, or chewy. The same applies to foods and drinks that are very hot or cold.
After-care for fast, hassle-free dental implant recovery
To ensure that your implant remains in good condition, it’s crucial to maintain excellent oral hygiene habits. This includes flossing daily and brushing your teeth twice a day. While you recover, avoiding hard candies that could damage your implants is also best. Remember, taking care of your implant now will pay off in the long run with a healthy, stunning smile.
Self-care tips for quick healing:
Tip 1 – Get plenty of sleep, and rest
Rest is essential after a dental implant surgery. This gives your body ample time to reset, reinvigorate, and recover. Remember, you might feel woozy if your oral surgeon used an IV sedative, so do not immediately engage in activities such as driving, lifting heavy objects, or bending over.
Additionally, resting helps blood clots start the healing process. Use an extra pillow or two to keep your head elevated. Getting more sleep every night also aids in the healing process.
Tip 2 – Use ice treatments
The use of ice treatments helps to reduce some of the facial swelling and bruising that can occur after dental implant surgery. They should gradually disappear after a few days. See your doctor or dentist immediately if you notice pus or feel feverish.
Tip 3 – Practice self-care
Exercising soon after the dental implant surgery may do more harm than good. Light walks are a better exercise option. Meditation and yoga are good self-care activities, too. You should also avoid brushing the sore dental implant site. If your dentist doesn’t recommend mouthwash and brushing, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
After your implant surgery, your dentist will keep in touch to check how you’re doing during the post-operative recovery. According to Cleveland Clinic, these follow-up sessions are important to ensure that everything is healing properly and that there are no issues with your new implant. While dental implants are strong and relient, they still require good hygiene care and maintenance. This means that you will need keep regular check-ups, get professional cleanings, and properly care of your teeth – both natural and implants – at home.