There’s no getting away from the fact that dental implant treatment requires some degree of dental implant surgery. Unlike conventional forms of missing teeth replacement the implant (as the name suggests) needs to be anchored down into the jaw bone to create a stable and permanent fixture in the mouth. Once in position, however, it should look, feel and even act just like a natural tooth.
It’s understandable therefore that many people are concerned about recovery from dental implant treatment. Are they going to have to spend months and months eating liquidised foods? Are they going to be in a whole new world of pain or discomfort? Do they need to lock themselves away from the outside world until the healing process is fully complete?
Don’t worry because in this article, we’ll talk in detail about what you can and should expect. So if you’re ready, let’s begin…
Life after dental implant surgery – The first 24 hours
Unsurprisingly, many people are worried about having to undergo dental implant surgery but in truth and in most cases, the surgery itself is very straight-forward. Technological advances and detailed preparation means that dental implant placement is a relatively simple minor procedure. Even more so when the process is carried out using the latest digital techniques. Most people who have undergone the process with us are surprised at how straight forward and quick dental implant surgery actually is.
But what about dental implant recovery – particularly during the first 24 hours?
You will be given instructions by your dentist on how to look after your mouth immediately after dental implant surgery and this starts the moment you return home.
Patients should look to restrict any activity during the first day or so after surgery as any sudden movement or exertion may cause discomfort or bleeding. Talking of bleeding, patients should find that typically, they experience less bleeding that they might if they were to undergo a tooth extraction. This is because an implant fills a gap and therefore there is no open extraction site left to heal. Nevertheless, you may be asked to bit down on a piece of gauze for an hour or so after surgery to apply pressure to the area.
In the unlikely event that bleeding persists, repeat the process with a clean piece of gauze for around 30 minutes. You can also use a moist tea bag. Tannic acid in tea helps to promote blood clotting during the healing process.
While you might not need pain relief, it is handy to have over the counter pain killers such as paracetamol standing by just in case. Your dentist may suggest that if you do feel any mild discomfort after dental implant surgery, to take them regularly for the first couple of days.
What about eating and drinking?
After dental implant surgery, the mouth is likely to feel somewhat tender. It’s important to stay hydrated so for the first 24 hours at least, so stick to cold drinks. You should avoid hot drinks, alcohol and spicy food at all costs. Instead, choose easy to digest foods such as tepid soup and yogurt.
As the healing process continues, patients typically find themselves eating normally within 10-14 days.
During the first 7 days
Usually, the healing process after dental implant surgery happens relatively quickly and after the first few days, patients find that their recovery gathers pace.
After day 2-3 it’s typical to no longer need to take pain relief, although this may need to continue if you have had several dental implants placed. Also about this time, you may start to experience slight swelling and bruising although this may be limited when being treated using the latest digital techniques. If there are signs of bruising or swelling around the dental implant site then regularly applying a cold compress to the area will help
When it comes to oral hygiene, patients are advised to carry out saltwater rinses with warm water especially after meals but after day 2-4, your dentist may encourage you to start cleaning your teeth gently with particular care around the implant site.
You may want to start to introducing other foods such as fish, mashed potatoes or pasta to supplement your diet as you see fit and as the healing process continues, you can introduce gentle exercise into your daily regime.
Recovery from dental implant treatment day 7-14
At the end of the first week, patients should feel relatively normal. In fact it isn’t uncommon for patients to be back at work at this stage of the healing process. Patients should continue to eat nourishing foods to aid their dental implant recovery but you should avoid seeds, nuts or popcorn which can get lodged in the implant site.
Around this time, your dentist may also want to monitor your recovery from dental implant treatment and check that your dental implant surgery hasn’t thrown up any issues.
Remember, implants are vulnerable particularly the first few weeks and months after placement so it’s good to have a dental professional viewpoint to ensure that your healing process is on the right track.
This is also your chance to ask any questions or concerns you might have about your dental implant recovery so far.
Dental implant recovery – 14 days to six months
By day 14, you should be pretty much back to normal. The only difference is that your implants are still healing.
In most cases, your dentist will want to let your gum heal fully and the implant to fuse with the bone (osseointegration) before fitting permanent replacement teeth. Typically this is known as the period of healing and lasts anywhere from six weeks to six months. During this time you can carry on with your normal daily routine and shouldn’t feel any discomfort.
If you do have stitches, these are normally removed or dissolved after the 14-day point but in the case of digital dental implants involving keyhole placement, patients won’t have stiches and any scarring should be minimal.
During this time, leading a healthy lifestyle is vital to aid full dental implant recovery so patients should avoid smoking and the excessive consumption of alcohol which can both have a serious impact on the healing process.
In essence, recovery from dental implant treatment should be relatively straight forward providing you follow important aftercare instructions provided by your dentist. Do this and you should find that the whole process is both plain sailing and trouble-free.
If you would like to find out more about how dental implants can benefit you then contact the team at DDSS/DDII. We use the latest digital dental technology to make dental implant surgery safer, more comfortable and faster.
Call today to book your free dental implant consultation and CT scan.