Dental Implant Post-Op Care
The healing time following a dental implant procedure varies from person to person. Your personal healing time will depend on a number of factors, including your age and the quality and density of your jawbone. On average, however, the healing period is approximately three to four months. You may need to limit your diet to soft foods in the days following your dental surgery. Doing so allows the surgical site to heal more rapidly, potentially reducing the time you must wait before receiving your prosthetic teeth.
Most people will experience some degree of swelling and discomfort in the days immediately following dental implant placement. This is a normal part of the healing process that will eventually subside. However, your dentist may prescribe medication to help manage pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent infection.
Oral hygiene will still be an important part of your post-op care. Even if you have no natural teeth, it is important to keep your implants and gums as clean as possible to help prevent periodontal disease and infection. Continue to care for your gums and implants even after receiving your new prosthetic teeth. This will require daily brushing and flossing, as well as periodic dental exams.
Did you know…
The longevity of your dental implants depends on your ability to care for your own oral health. While it is true that implants and prosthetic teeth are not capable of decay, they can be indirectly affected by poor oral hygiene. Periodontitis, for example, can cause gum recession and bone loss, which may cause an implant to loosen or fall out. However, a dental implant that is properly cared for can last a lifetime.
When to Contact Our Office
Most people experience a complication-free recovery period. However, we encourage you to contact our office if you have questions or feel that your surgical site is not healing properly. Fever or pain that worsens over time may be signs of infection and require our attention.
If you have made the decision to get dental implants, you can trust that you will receive the best of care with our [city] dental practice. We have the skill and experience to help you achieve optimal results from your new teeth.
Did you know…
The dental implant process has come a long way since it was first introduced? In fact, dental implants have been used in some capacity since at least 600 A.D., when the Mayans used stone and seashell fragments as artificial tooth roots. Fast forward 1,400 years, and modern dentistry has developed dental implants that are extraordinarily strong and successful in most patients.
Getting Dental Implants
The first step of the dental implant process is the consultation. This important visit sets the foundation for a successful treatment. During the consultation, you will meet with your dental surgeon to discuss treatment goals and your eligibility for dental implants as a patient. This is also the time when you will discuss any questions you may have and reasonable expectations of treatment.
You will arrive on the day of your dental surgery having followed all pre-operative instructions, such as avoiding food and drink in the hours prior to your procedure. You will be placed under sedation, during which time titanium dental implants will be placed beneath your gum line and into the underlying bone. Finally, the gums will be sutured shut, with only a small part of the implant post visible above the surface. You will be sent home to allow time for new implants to integrate with the surrounding bone. You may be fitted for temporary teeth during this recovery period, which may last several months.
During the final stage, your dentist will ask you to return so that you can be fitted for and receive a permanent prosthetic. Depending on the number of teeth you are replacing and your personal preferences, this may be a fixed crown, bridge or a removable denture. The teeth will be custom made to fit the proportions of your face and match any surrounding teeth you may have. The result is a beautiful, natural-looking and functional smile you will be proud to show off.
The days and weeks following an oral surgery are an integral part of the recovery process. It is important to follow all of the surgeon’s instructions for care to promote healing and reduce the risk of post-surgical difficulties. Most patients experience a complication-free recovery and can return to work or school within one to two days following surgery.
Did you know…
that discomfort following oral surgery is usually minimal? Though you may be given a prescription-strength pain reliever for the first day or two after surgery, most patients find that an over-the-counter ibuprofen is enough to relieve post-operative discomfort after the initial recovery period. Pain typically becomes less and less by the day, completely subsiding within one to two weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I care for the surgical site on the day of my oral surgery?
A responsible driver will need to accompany you to your surgical appointment and drive you home after surgery. It is normal for the surgical site to bleed and swell during the first few hours after surgery. You may be instructed to bite down on gauze packs, changing them as needed. Get plenty of rest, do not drive, and be careful not to disturb the surgical area on the day of surgery. Follow your surgeon’s instructions for pain relief, and apply an ice pack to the cheek to reduce swelling. If possible, limit your foods to liquids and soft foods that require minimal chewing.
What should I expect on days two and three?
You can begin gently brushing your teeth on the day after surgery so long as you avoid the surgical area. You may gradually begin to incorporate solid foods into your diet, rinsing food from the mouth with an irrigating syringe after eating as instructed by your surgeon. Apply hot and cold compresses to the cheeks intermittently to reduce swelling, and continue to take pain medication only as needed.
Is there anything else I should know about the post-operative period?
After your oral surgery, we ask that you do not smoke for at least 48 hours. Doing so could cause clots to dislodge, resulting in a painful condition known as ‘dry socket’. You should also avoid using a straw. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions or concerns you may have about your personal healing process.