Recovering from a dental implant surgery takes time—usually about 6 to 8 months. However, this can take longer for patients who received additional procedures such as bone augmentation and sinus lift. Postoperative care will also play a huge role in the healing process and the success of your dental implants. To give you a better idea, here’s a timeline on what to expect after getting dental implants:
The First 24 Hours Post-Surgery
A few hours after the surgery, you may experience some drowsiness from the anesthesia. This may take a few hours to wear off, so be sure to have someone drive you home. Slight bleeding is also common post-surgery. Your doctor will place gauze sponges over the area to absorb the blood. These can be removed one to two hours after the procedure. You should also avoid engaging in strenuous exercises to avoid worsening the bleeding.
By the time you remove the sponge, you’ll be permitted to eat. However, your teeth and jaw will still be sensitive. Chew away from the surgical site, and stick to soft foods like pudding, smoothie, and yogurt. Avoid consuming hot/warm items like coffee and soup as they can worsen the bleeding.
Around 2-4 hours after the procedure, the anesthesia will wear off, and the pain will slowly start to creep in. Your doctor may prescribe pain killers like Ibuprofen if it becomes unbearable.
One to Three Days After the Surgery
Facial swelling and bruising may be noticeable during this time, but don’t be alarmed, as it is part of the healing process. You can place a cold compress over the affected area to ease these symptoms. A day after the surgery, your doctor may permit you to consume hot items and foods that are not too chewy and crunchy i.e., vegetable soup, pasta, and fish. In addition to that, you’ll be instructed to brush your teeth gently, and use an antibiotic mouthwash to avoid the risk of infections.
Three to Seven Days After the Surgery
By this time, the swelling and bruising will begin to subside, and you can resume most of your daily tasks. However, you should still avoid strenuous activities like exercising to avoid any discomfort. On top of that, you can begin incorporating soft foods with a bit of texture to your diet like vegetables and fruits.
One to Two Weeks After the Surgery
Your doctor may give you the go signal to return to your normal diet. However, be careful when eating hard-to-chew foods like apple and steak, as they can damage or displace your dental implants. You can also start incorporating light intensity workouts like walking and yoga into your routine.
More than Two Weeks After the Surgery
After two weeks, you should see some immense progress in your recovery. Then, around the 3rd-4th week, your doctor will check in on your progress. If after 4-6 months and your implants are healing well, another appointment will be scheduled for the fitting of the artificial teeth.
Ways to Prolong the Life of Your Dental Implants
Proper care and good oral hygiene are crucial to the success and longevity of your dental implants. Keep them in optimal condition with these useful tips:
- Brush and Floss Regularly
Similar to natural teeth, dental implants and artificial teeth should be brushed and flossed at least two times a day. This prevents the formation of plaque and bacteria which could lead to bad breath and gum disease.
- Limit Your Alcohol Intake
During recovery, Osseointegration, the fusion between the jaw bone and implant, takes place. It’s advisable to avoid alcohol intake as it can disrupt this process and cause implant failure. You can resume drinking once the affected area has fully healed. However, keep it a minimum as excess consumption could result in dry mouth which causes gum disease
- Schedule Regular Checkups
After getting implants, be sure to visit your doctors at least every 6 months. This will help them determine if your artificial teeth are in optimal condition. They could also check any signs of infection, and prescribe the necessary treatment. Additionally, you can also opt to get your teeth professionally cleaned to avoid plaque buildup.
If you’re suffering from a damaged or missing tooth, a dental implant can offer a permanent solution to your problem. But for it to last a long time, proper care and maintenance must be in place.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders especially after your dental surgery, as it’s during this time that your teeth and jaw are the most sensitive. If you feel any discomfort, notify your dentist immediately so that proper measures can be done. By following these steps diligently, your implants and artificial teeth have the potential to last you a lifetime.