The dental implant procedure involves opening up the gums and drilling into the jawbone to place a titanium implant inside of the jaw bone. Over months, this implant fuses with the jaw bone in a process called osseointegration.
You will be given a local anesthetic before the procedure and you will return for a second minor surgery in which the gums are reopened to attach an abutment to the implant. You will also be given an anesthetic before this. You will then need to wait 6 weeks before a crown can be attached.
In this blog from Confident Smiles & Implants, we’re going over everything you need to know about the dental implant healing process. To learn more about what to expect after receiving dental implants, what’s normal, what’s not, and how to encourage healing, read on.
Pain: While you won’t experience pain during the procedure, you may experience mild discomfort or pain once the local anesthetic has worn off. You can expect this to last for a few days but it shouldn’t be too extreme and can be relieved through the use of over-the-counter pain relief medication. The pain will improve as each day passes.
Swelling: The day following your implant procedure, you can expect to see some facial swelling or bruising, which is normal. This may last for a few days and can be reduced by applying an ice pack to the swollen area for 20 minutes at a time with 10 minute rest periods. This will work for the first 24 hours, after which you are better off using moist heat if swelling continues.
Bleeding: Minor bleeding is expected after oral surgery. You will be given fresh gauze to bite down on immediately after the procedure to stop the bleeding. Bite down on the gauze for 30-60 minutes, changing the gauze at the 30-minute mark.
If bleeding continues past this point, you can try biting down on a moist caffeinated tea bag. Caffeinated tea contains a chemical called tannic acid, which encourages blood clotting. If you experience excessive or prolonged bleeding, contact your dentist right away to make sure you do not have mucositis or peri-implantitis.
The approximate healing time varies from person to person and depends on their lifestyle and behavioral habits. For example, someone who smokes, needs additional surgery in the form of bone grafting, or has received multiple implants and does not practice good oral hygiene will prolong the healing process in comparison to someone who does not.
A general healing timeline for dental implants is from a few days to 2 weeks after both minor surgeries. The osseointegration process can last from 3-6 months or even longer in some individuals.
Immediately after Surgery: Wait until the local anesthetic wears off to eat or consume hot liquids to avoid burning or biting yourself. If you want to receive sedation during your procedure, you will need someone to accompany you to your appointment and drive you home.
Once the anesthetic has worn off, you can eat soft foods and need to chew on the opposite side of your mouth. Try to rest for the remainder of the day and don’t engage in strenuous activity.
Shortly after Surgery: A day after your implant procedure, you can swish around a lukewarm salt water rinse in between meals to reduce bacteria in your mouth. Follow teeth cleaning advice provided to you by your dentist.
Be very careful around the site of the implants when it comes to brushing and flossing. You should refrain from smoking, wearing dentures, drinking alcohol, and stay away from sticky or hard foods. It’s best to stick to soft foods for the first week.
Within a few weeks: Within 7-10 days after receiving your dental implants, you should be able to start introducing your normal diet back into your routine. Make sure you brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. Return to the dentist for cleanings and checkups every 6 months and alert your dentist if you notice anything strange or concerning.
To find out if dental implants could be right for you, contact us at Confident Smiles & Implants or schedule a consultation. Our wonderful dentists Dr. Luis & Dr. Tori Mariusso can perform an oral exam, assess your bone health, and identify if you would be a suitable candidate.