Dental implants are revolutionary dental prosthetics that can mimic the look and function of a natural tooth almost perfectly. These prosthetics are anchored directly into your jawbone, making them as secure and resistant to stressors as your natural teeth.
To get a dental implant placed, you will need to undergo surgery. During this procedure, your dentist will place a titanium implant screw into your jawbone. The false tooth will then be attached to the top of this screw. This surgery can be rough on some patients, but there are many things you can do to make it easier. Here is a brief timeline of what to expect after implant surgery and some tips to help you speed up your recovery.
What to Expect After a Dental Implant
The First 48 Hours
As soon as your implant surgery is over, your dentist will place a piece of soft gauze over the surgical site. You should keep that gauze in place for the next 30 minutes, using steady, firm pressure to keep it in place.
It is normal for your surgical wounds to ooze for up to 48 hours after your surgery. The bleeding should slow down significantly after the first hour. If it does not, you can bite down on a teabag to release tannic acid and shrink the blood vessels around the surgical site.
At this stage, you should take over-the-counter medications to manage your pain. Follow your dentist’s instructions regarding dosage timing and amounts. You can also apply a cold compress to your jaw every 20 minutes for additional pain relief.
Take care to avoid strenuous activity during this time. Straining yourself too much could reopen your wounds and force you to start the healing process again. You should also restrict yourself to soft foods until your implant sore heals more and no longer hurts.
The First Week
If you follow your post-operative instructions carefully, you should start feeling better 3 to 4 days after your procedure. At this time, you can start to decrease your use of pain medications slowly. Some patients experience more discomfort than others and may need pain medication for up to a week. Always follow your dentist’s instructions regarding pain medication.
Your first follow-up appointment should take place 7 to 10 days after your implant surgery. If your dentist approves, you can resume your regular diet at this time.
Total Healing Timeline
It will take a few months for your dental implant to finish healing. During this time, your body will grow new bone around your implant and begin to treat it as if it was just another part of your body. This process is called osseointegration, and it allows your new implant to anchor itself properly to your jawbone.
Your total healing time might be slightly longer if you require additional preparatory procedures such as sinus lifts or bone grafts. Be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene to avoid infection and ensure optimal outcomes.
General Tips for Recovery After Getting a Dental Implant
After your dental implant surgery, follow these guidelines to ensure a better recovery.
After implant surgery, your body will need time to heal. Take a few days off work or school to give yourself the downtime you need to recover.
Take care to avoid strenuous activities like heavy lifting or things that could get you hit in the face. These things could disturb the implant site and reopen your surgical wounds. After you feel better, you can slowly ease yourself back into your usual routine.
2. Eat Soft, Nutritious Food
Your mouth will be sore after dental implant surgery, especially during the first 48 hours after you leave your dentist’s office. During this time, you will need to stick to very soft foods that require little to no chewing. After the first two days, you can begin to incorporate foods that require slightly more chewing back into your diet.
Avoid very hot or cold food or drink while you are still healing to avoid causing yourself pain and disrupting blood flow to the implant site. You should also avoid spicy foods for the same reasons.
Steamed vegetables are good choices because they are easy to chew, and their nutritional content is high. Smoothies and protein shakes are also good choices but do not drink them through a straw. Instead, use a spoon to minimize the chance of dislodging blood clots at the extraction site.
3. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids during your recovery helps you flush out the toxins in your body and build new tissue over your implant site.
Be sure to sip your fluids straight from the glass and not through a straw. The suction generated when you drink from a straw can dislodge blood clots around your implant site and make it difficult for that area to heal.
You should also avoid caffeine and alcohol during your recovery period. These substances can dehydrate your body and counteract your efforts. Alcohol has also been shown to slow oral healing, making the problem even worse.
4. Use Ice Packs
Cold compresses are your best bet when recovering from any oral surgery. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to your jaw for 20-minute intervals whenever you need to control pain or swelling around your implant site. The cold will soothe the pain and constrict your blood vessels, keeping any bleeding at the site under control.
5. Use Saltwater Rinses
Saltwater rinses help control infection and soothe any irritation in your mouth after oral surgery. To make one, combine 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Dissolve the salt in the water, then swish the solution in your mouth for around 30 seconds. When you are finished, spit the liquid out. You can repeat this process as often as you need to during your recovery.
6. Avoid Smoking
Smoking slows your body’s ability to heal itself by restricting its access to oxygen, prolonging the time it will take for your implant post to successfully integrate with your bone. Try to quit smoking if you can. If this is not possible, restrict the number of tobacco products you consume in a day. The less you smoke, the better your implant outcomes will be.
7. Keep Up with Your Oral Hygiene
Recovering from dental implant surgery is painful, but it is critical that you keep up with your oral hygiene during the healing process. Continue to brush and floss the rest of your teeth as you usually would while your implant site heals. Follow your dentist’s instructions to keep the surgical area clean.
Visit One of the Best Dental Offices in Mississauga for Implants
Getting a dental implant can be life-changing, and if you choose the right dental office, your recovery will be quick and virtually painless. Visit Trillium Smile Dentistry for quality dental implants in Mississauga. Our staff will ensure that you are kept comfortable and well-informed before, during, and after your implant surgery. Contact us today at 905-828-9894 or through our online form to book an appointment or inquire about tooth implant costs. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have about our services.