Healing After Dental Implants: What to Expect

The Dental Implant Procedure

A minor surgery will be performed by inserting a titanium implant into the jawbone. You will have a significant amount of time before the next part of the procedure can be performed, because you need to allow yourself to heal as well as let osseointegration take place.

Osseointegration is when the implant becomes fused with the jawbone as a result of the bone growing around the implant. While the healing after the initial surgery only lasts for 2 weeks, the osseointegration will not be complete for 3-6 months.

You may have a few appointments within this period to check on the osseointegration process. The next step of the procedure is to attach an abutment, which requires another minor surgery to open the gum. The healing process from this surgery will take about 2 weeks and you cannot have your tooth restoration placed until 6 weeks.

Finally, a tooth restoration in the form of a crown will be attached to the abutment. This will have been created from impressions that were taken of your teeth. The impressions are sent to a dental lab where they create a perfect replica of your natural teeth. 

Your artificial tooth will blend in with your teeth because it will be the same size, shape, and color. The tooth will be fitted and then you can enjoy your new fully functioning tooth.

Estimated Healing Time

The approximate healing time post oral surgery varies from person to person and is dependent on many factors, such as:

  • How many implants you have received
  • If you needed bone grafting
  • Where the implants are located
  • Bone health
  • Whether or not your smoke
  • Oral hygiene

People who receive multiple implants, require bone grafting, are smokers, and have poor bone health will unsurprisingly take longer to heal than those in good health receiving minimal implants with no complications. This healing time can be as short as 1 or 2 days or as long as 2 weeks for the initial implant.

Aftercare

To accelerate the healing time, you should ensure that you maintain excellent oral hygiene and avoid smoking. Smoking can cause the implants to fail and lead to an infection. This should be avoided at all costs and if you are a smoker, you should stop smoking at least a few days before the procedure.

You should follow your dentist’s specific instructions for aftercare and oral hygiene. You should rest after your surgery and rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution to help with pain and swelling and reduce the risk of infection.

You will likely not be able to brush your teeth around the implant for the first 24 hours, but may be able to brush your other teeth. Follow your dentist’s instructions but be very careful around your dental implant and do not floss around it until you get the go-ahead.

If you are experiencing swelling in the first few days, you can apply a cold compress to your jaw in 30-minute intervals and then remove it for 20 minutes. Continue doing this for the first 24 hours, when you are especially sore. You may need to take anti-pain medication until the pain and discomfort subside.

What Can I Eat?

It’s vital that you don’t disturb the blood clot, because your implant is an open wound after the oral surgery is initially performed. Carbonated drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, and drinking through a straw can all negatively affect the wound’s ability to clot, so avoid these right after surgery.

You will want to stick to soft foods that are moderate temperature while you are healing. You should also try to eat on the opposite side of your mouth, where you do not have an implant. Don’t eat foods that are too hard or chewy and stay away from extreme temperatures.

Good foods to eat include:

  • Applesauce
  • Oatmeal
  • Soft veggies
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Jello

Interested in Dental Implants? Schedule a Consultation Today!

Dental implants are a better alternative to dentures. They last longer, are more durable, function like normal teeth, and prevent bone loss. Dental implants can last 20 years to a lifetime with proper care, except for the attached crown. 

At Wesley C. Wise, DDS & Assoc., LTD, we use the latest technology to deliver top-notch care. If you would like to find out if dental implants are right for you, contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wesley Wise.