While the thought of undergoing dental implant surgery may seem daunting, many patients are pleasantly surprised at how straightforward the process is. Detailed preparation beforehand and advanced technology means that implant surgery is a relatively easy and minor surgical procedure. That said, you may have questions about what to expect after dental implant surgery.
Having decided dental implants are the right treatment for you, your main focus may lie in getting through the surgery but it’s important to think about aftercare immediately following the treatment as well as in the longer term.
No two patients are exactly alike and each case is a little different which is why our implant dentist will give you more details about what your case may involve. Meanwhile, we have answered some of the most common questions and concerns so you can be fully prepared. So, take a seat and enjoy the read.
What to expect after dental implant surgery – Your questions answered
What factors can aid recovery time?
With traditional dental implant surgery, an incision is made into the gum to expose the jaw bone. Then a hole is drilled, the implant is placed, and the gums are closed with sutures. But there is a better alternative ….
Digitalised dental implants placement is a little like keyhole surgery, only for the teeth. Computerised surgical guides enable small holes to be drilled into the jawbone for precision implant placement which, in turn, means no sutures, little if any bleeding, less risk of infection, shorter surgery time and faster healing.
How will I feel immediately after dental implant surgery?
You are likely to feel a little drowsy, particularly if you had dental sedation and because you may still be under the effects of the anaesthesia. This is why it’s important that someone accompanies you to the surgery and drives you home. You may experience some bleeding (although this is minimal with digital dental implants) which will ease if you bite down onto a piece of gauze for several minutes. Once the anaesthetic has worn off, your mouth is likely to feel a little sore and tender.
What should I do once I am at home?
While in a few cases, some patients can return to work on the same day, rest and recuperation are important following surgery. Grab this opportunity to take things easy and put your feet up.
How do I care for my mouth and what can I eat?
It’s critical following dental implant surgery to maintain good oral hygiene and while we don’t advocate brushing your teeth during the first 24 hours, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth periodically with warm saltwater to ward off infection and help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Speaking of discomfort, this can usually be managed with over the counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen. If your dentist has prescribed a course of antibiotics, then it’s important to take the full course.
Avoid any hot or cold drinks or food and instead, stick to tepid drinks and soft foods such as soup, scrambled eggs, mashed potato and yoghurt.
In the next two or three days following dental implant surgery, you may notice some bruising or facial swelling. This is perfectly normal and is the body’s way of recovering. A cold compress can be used on the outside of the mouth to help bring any swelling out. After this, a combination of hot and cold compresses should see these symptoms gradually subside.
Patients can also start to introduce slightly firmer food but use your comfort levels as a guide and take care to avoid eating on the side where the surgical site is located.
How long will it take to recover fully?
This varies from person to person but if you only received one or two dental implants recovery can take just 1 to 2 days. If you had more implants and needed a bone graft your recovery could take 2 to 4 weeks. Other considerations are age, hygiene and health.
When can I resume activity?
If you exercise regularly, you may be wondering when you can get back to working out following implant surgery. It’s important to refrain from lifting, bending or any strenuous activity on the first day as this can lead to swelling, pain, and bleeding. To be on the safe side, it’s best to wait for 3 days before exercising and up to 14 days before undertaking strenuous exercise.
Can I smoke after dental implant surgery?
Smoking is detrimental to dental implants and slows down the healing process. In some cases, osseointegration (when the implant fuses with the bone) may not occur. Smoking can also lead to infection so we urge patients to quit smoking for the entire duration of the implant procedure.
When will I get my permanent crowns?
You will need to attend regular dental checks so we can monitor your progress. Healing can take up 4 to 6 months after dental implant surgery and your permanent crowns will not be fitted until our implant dentist is happy that osseointegration has taken place successfully.
How do I care for my dental implants once they have healed?
Dental implants feel and function just like natural teeth which mean it’s important to brush and floss them each day and pay regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and cleaning. It’s also important to take good care of your gums as this has a direct impact on the strength of the bone supporting your implants.
So, that’s what to expect after dental implant surgery. Hopefully, it has answered your questions and concerns.
Here at DDSS/DDII, we want what’s best for our patients and their teeth which is why we’re proud to offer digitalised dental implants. If you’d like to know more about what’s involved in the dental implant procedure and whether it’s right for you why not come and talk to the friendly experienced team at DDSS/DDII. Book online or call on (02) 8294 5812.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.