Replacing a missing tooth or teeth has many advantages. Not only can it improve your confidence with a smile you can be proud of, but can also help your oral health. Dental implants are a long-lasting solution to missing teeth and are one of the top choices for patients. If you have been considering having a dental implant placed, one of your questions is likely that the recovery is like and how long will it last.
“Typically in most cases after initial surgery to place implants, there is some minor swelling, mild discomfort and occasionally bruising that lasts for a few days. However this is well managed by medication and the post-operative management the dentist will prescribe. After approximately 7-10 days a patient can return to their normal diet routine. In some cases, patients may be advised to stick to a soft diet for up to 6 weeks post-procedure.”
Source: Dental Implant Recovery Time
What Happens During the Dental Implant Procedure
During dental implant surgery, your oral surgeon will do a few tasks to get the implant placed. He will first make an incision at the site in which the implant will be secured. Then he will drill a hole in the jaw bone to screw the implant into. Cutting incisions and drilling will be done for each tooth you need to have replaced. After the implant has been affixed, your surgeon will either apply a healing cap to ensure the gums heal correctly, or close the incision site and wait for the jaw bone to heal. The route chosen will depend on the condition of your jaw bone, and what your surgeon feels is the right choice for you. The recovery time for the traditional dental implant can last up to six months. After the jawbone and gum have healed, and the implant has fused fully, your surgeon will then have you come in for your second procedure. During this appointment, you will have the permanent crown installed, or bridges or dentures can be attached. Most patients will get their final results from two to six months.
Recovery Time Following Surgery
The first stage of recovery lasts about 3 to 4 days. For just about every patient, the day following surgery is the most difficult. Luckily the swelling, pain, and discomfort don’t last much longer than this period. However, it is vital to follow your oral surgeon’s instructions for care after the surgery.
The first 24 hours after surgery, will present the most challenges. To manage discomfort, you will probably be prescribed medication to lessen the pain. If you take one dose of prescribed medication before the anesthesia wears off the pain will be tolerable. Patients will need to keep gauze pack on the incision site if bleeding occurs. Bleeding is entirely reasonable for after dental implant surgery. However, too much bleeding can mean your gauze isn’t pressing against the incision site. If there is more bleeding than average, you will need to add more gauze and pressure. Oozing is entirely normal and can last a few days. At times, a patient could think there is a lot of blood, but its essential to remember it is blood mixing with saliva which makes it look like a more substantial quantity.
Applying ice to the cheek for 30 minutes at a time three times a day can help to reduce the swelling and alleviate some discomfort. The first day should be filled with rest and no strenuous activities.
After 24 Hours, Recovery Time
Once you have passed the 24 hours, the pain will lessen. The swelling will continue for a few days, but won’t feel like as much pressure as it did the first day. The idea of cleaning your mouth with anything during the first couple days can sound painful, but it is imperative that you maintain good oral hygiene during the recovery process. Brushing your teeth should be started as soon as possible after surgery. It’s best to be gentle while brushing. Maintaining a clean area for the implant will speed recovery time.
You will notice after the first day a fair amount of bruising. The chin, cheek, or under the eyes can all be affected. This is completely normal. After the 3rd day, you can speed up discoloration resolution with most heat, such as a paper towel dampened with warm water.
It’s crucial not to skip meals during the first few days. While the idea of chewing anything is probably the last thing you want to do, getting proper nutrition helps to shorten the recovery time. The first couple days, it is recommended that you stick mainly to a liquid or soft diet. Avoiding anything crunchy or hard to chew can save you from a world of discomfort.
Recovery time varies with every patient that undergoes dental implants. But if you maintain good oral hygiene, and follow your orthodontist’s instructions for care after, you can minimize how much time it takes to get back to normal. While dental implants are surgery, the recovery time is minimal, and most tolerate it very well.
Related article: What are the Side Effects of Dental Implants?