Are you considering getting dental implants? If so, you probably have one or more missing teeth that you’re hoping to replace. If you’re an ideal candidate for dental implants, you should:
- Have a jawbone that’s reached full growth
- Have enough bone to secure the implants or are able to have a bone graft
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Have good health overall that won’t negatively affect bone healing
Dental implant surgery doesn’t just happen through one procedure — it happens in stages. Your dentist will walk through all of these details with you prior to your first procedure. However, keep this in mind when thinking about dental implant surgery recovery.
Dental implant recovery time varies for each person
The entire process for getting dental implants can take months from start to finish. For example, in between the two procedures of dental implant placement and abutment placement, there is time allotted for bone growth and healing. And if you have bone grafting, it can take several months for the transplanted bone to grow enough new bone to support an implant.
After placing the dental implant, you have to wait for bone to grow around it
This is called osseointegration (oss-ee-oh-in-tuh-GRAY-shun). It’s crucial for dental implant success because you need the jawbone to grow into and unite with the surface of the dental implant.
You can choose between removable or fixed artificial teeth
Removable teeth are similar to dentures and you can choose between full or partial. The “dentures” typically have artificial white teeth on top, with a pink-colored gum on the bottom. With fixed teeth, the crowns are screwed or cemented onto the bottom portion of the implant, and they can’t be removed.
You will probably experience discomfort after the procedures
It’s true that getting dental implants is a significant surgical procedure(s), and you will feel it through:
- Swelling of your gums and face
- Bruising of your skin and gums
- Pain at the implant site
- Minor bleeding
Talk to your oral surgeon about pain medications and antibiotics. Keep an eye on swelling and bleeding and contact the surgeon if either one continues to worsen in the days following surgery.
You will probably have stitches in your gums
Some oral surgeons use dissolvable stitches, which go away on their own eventually. Other surgeons use regular stitches that require removal after a period of time. Talk to your surgeon about which option he/she plans to use prior to your dental implant surgery.
You need to eat and drink differently while your implant site heals
Your jawbone and gums need time to heal after dental implant surgery, and certain foods and drinks can deter healing. You should stick to soft foods for at least a week to a month after surgery. Smoothies, protein shakes, ice cream, mashed potatoes, and soup are good options as your mouth heals.
You should still practice good oral hygiene, even while recovering
Worried about brushing or flossing after dental implant surgery? While you may have difficulty opening your mouth very wide in the first 24-hours after surgery, you should try to gently rinse your mouth with salt water every few hours to prevent infection. After that, continue to brush and floss your teeth as often as you normally would (with increased care, of course).
If you have further questions about dental implant surgery recovery, we are here to help answer them. Talk to us about any concerns you may have about the procedures, process, and recovery. You deserve to have all of the information you need before beginning dental implant surgery.