As with other types of surgery, dental surgery requires a recovery period. Today, our Ottawa dentists explain what you can expect during your recovery from dental implant surgery.
Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically attached to the jawbone to act as an anchor for a permanent artificial tooth. We usually recommend dental implants for patients that are missing one or more teeth.
There is no set-in-stone recovery time for all implant patients since each patient will have a unique oral condition that affects the surgery and their recovery. However, we can look at general timelines.
It typically takes 5 to 7 days for all the symptoms to subside after dental implant surgery, and anywhere from 2 to 6 months for the gums to fully heal before the artificial tooth can be placed.
While recovery is generally short for this oral surgery procedure, recovery time can vary depending on how the procedure went, how well you take care of yourself after, and how your body reacts to the implant.
What You Can Expect After Implant Surgery
Some symptoms you may experience on the first day include persistent bleeding, swelling, and pain. But don't fret! These are all expected signs that your body is healing itself.
To help make your recovery faster and minimize pain during healing, be careful not to disturb the surgical areas while it's healing, and follow your dentist's instructions for post-surgery care.
On the second and third days after surgery, your body will continue to heal itself. There maybe be some minor swelling, mild discomfort, and bruising that lasts for a few days. However, this is typically well-managed by medication and post-operative care. If swelling, discomfort, or other issues become worse during the days following your procedure, call your dentist.
After about 7 to 10 days, most patients can return to a normal diet. In some cases, patients may be advised to stick to a soft diet for up to 6 weeks following the procedure.
Making the Healing Process Faster
Dental implant recovery time and the healing process can be delayed or impaired by smoking, poor diet, excessive alcohol use, and lack of proper dental care (such as regular brushing). We also recommend that dental implant patients avoid strenuous activities in the days immediately following surgery to prevent dislodging the blood clot and causing bleeding. When it's time to go to bed, elevate your head using extra pillows.
Other factors that could impact recovery time include the number of teeth that needed to be extracted and implanted; whether the bone is healthy enough for the implants to bond to; if the procedure required bone grafting; and individual differences in healing time.
Maintaining oral hygiene and home care is essential to recovery and helps to ensure that no plaque or infection builds up around the gums. After 24 hours, you can also begin to gently rinse with salt water, apply ice as needed, and be sure to rest as much as possible.
Placing a Tooth Replacement
Once the initial healing has taken place, the implants will continue to naturally bond with the bone.
In some cases, a tooth replacement can be added immediately. More commonly, a tooth replacement such as a crown or bridge will be added anywhere from 2 to 6 months after the implant has been placed and the gums are fully healed.