Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, giving you a long-lasting realistic smile. But to ensure the success of the treatment, you need to properly care for your implant after surgery. Understanding what to expect post-surgery can help you choose the right aftercare to speed up your recovery.
What Factors Affect My Recovery Time?
You can expect the surgical site to heal within two to three weeks following dental implant surgery; however, a full recovery may take a few months. Several factors can impact your recovery time, including:
If your dentist determines that you have insufficient jawbone density or thickness, you may need a bone graft or a sinus lift before your implant surgery to provide a stable foundation for the post.
Your natural bone tissue needs to fuse with the graft, which can take anywhere from 4 weeks to several months.
Immune System Health
Your healing timeline depends significantly on your immune system. If you are in good general health, you can expect to recover within 2-3 weeks (though osseointegration takes up to 6 months). However, if you are ill, your body’s wound healing capacity is limited.
If you have an autoimmune disease like type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, you may be ineligible for dental implants. In these cases, your immune system may reject the implant.
You can speed up your recovery by carefully following your dentist’s aftercare instructions. This may include modifying your diet, taking antibiotics, refraining from strenuous activity, rinsing with a salt water solution, and adjusting your oral health routine.
What Can I Expect After Surgery?
Every patient’s healing timeline differs, but you can expect a few common experiences after surgery.
24 Hours After Surgery
The first 24 hours after surgery are the most crucial. If you have had a complex extraction under general anesthesia or requested sedation for your implant procedure, you may still feel drowsy after your surgery. Ensure you have someone to drive you home from the dental office.
Rest is essential. Use a pillow to keep your head elevated to minimize swelling and pressure around the surgical site. Avoid bending, lifting heavy objects, and vigorous activity.
Once the anesthesia has worn off, you may experience some tenderness and discomfort. If you have had your tooth extracted before the implant is placed, there may also be some swelling and bruising around the site. Many dentists recommended taking an OTC painkiller before the anesthesia fully wears off and taking the medication at the correct time interval and dosage suggested by the manufacturer for 2-3 days.
Eat a nutrient-rich soft food diet, including oatmeal, lukewarm soup or broth, smoothies, and yogurt. Do not consume hot, spicy, sticky, or hard foods.
Do not brush the implant site, but continue to brush and floss your remaining teeth. Do not rinse, as this can create negative pressure. After 24 hours, you can rinse with a salt water solution to remove food particles and bacteria.
2-7 Days After Surgery
Swelling usually peaks around the third day after surgery. There may also be some minor oozing or light bleeding. Use an ice pack on the affected side of your face for the first few days. Apply the ice pack in 20-minute intervals.
Continue to eat soft foods, but you can introduce foods with slightly more texture, such as cooked vegetables and soft fruits like peaches or bananas.
7-14 Days After Surgery
After 7 days, you’ll see a noticeable improvement, and you can usually resume your regular activities. You should no longer have any discomfort, but there may still be some slight tenderness if you touch the implant site.
By the end of the second week, the site should be healed, and your stitches can be removed or will have dissolved (depending on the type of sutures used).
When to Call a Dentist
You’ll have a follow-up appointment with your dentist 2-3 three weeks after surgery to check how the implant is healing. However, if you experience severe pain, pus around the surgical site, nausea, or fever, contact your dentist immediately as it could be signs of an infection or implant rejection.
Contact Steger Smiles for High-Quality Dental Implants
Dental implants are the only permanent way to restore your smile. To find out more about the procedure or to schedule an appointment, call Steger Smiles today.