Dental Implant Recovery Process: Everything You Need to Know

Tooth loss is one of the most challenging moments in one's life. Luckily, there are dental implants to help rectify the situation. Dental implant surgery is not the end of the road when it comes to receiving a new smile. Such a procedure is usually simple, and even though the dental implant recovery process is mostly pain-free you may experience slight discomfort. Here is everything you need to know about the dental implant recovery process and easy tips to help you recover. 

There are a lot of reasons why patients choose dental implants. When you come to Ridgeview Dental in Centennial, CO, we want you to understand every aspect of your treatment. If you’re in the Aurora, Parker, or Centennial areas, call us to schedule a consultation today!

An Overview of the Dental Implant Recovery Process

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental Implants are a type of prosthesis that dentists use to replace lost teeth. Dental implants are small titanium posts that dentists insert into one's jawbones, on top of which they add;

  • A single crown
  • A full denture
  • A fixed bridge
  • A partial denture

The surgery depends on your jawbone's condition and the implant type. These implants provide support to the new teeth you are getting, which requires your bones to heal around the dental implants firmly. Since bones' healing time may be longer, expect the dental implant recovery process to take up to several months. 

What Should I Expect During the Implant Recovery Process?

The dental implant procedure is surgical in nature, meaning you will experience some downtime to recover. Some patients may feel minor symptoms that will lead you to believe it is a complication or something is wrong, though they are not unexpected. These symptoms include:

  • Bleeding: You may notice bleeding from the implant area for about 48-72 hours after the dental implant 
  • Bruising: For the next 2-3 days after the procedure, you may notice some bruising on your face. This will eventually disappear on its own. 
  • Swelling: The surface around your eyes, cheeks, and mouth may appear swollen for a few days after the procedure. It is most common with bone grafting. Taking medication that contains caffeine or codeine should help the swelling disappear faster.
  • Discomfort: This is a common symptom among many people after an implant procedure. It takes time to get used to a foreign object in your mouth, and your lips may feel stretched and dry. 
  • Dizziness: Feeling light-headed is a common effect of anesthesia, which should dissipate in a few hours. 
  • Nausea and vomiting: Some clients using oral anesthesia may feel some nausea post-procedure, but this is a standard reaction that goes away on its own.
  • Fever: Increased temperature is common after oral surgery. Keep in mind that it should not go beyond 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Whether you are getting a single implant or the whole mouth, it is normal to experience these symptoms. The best way to get around is practicing proper aftercare tips to help heal and avoid complications. 

A majority of these issues will disappear if the proper care is taken and you pay attention to appropriate oral hygiene.

How Long Does the Dental Implant Recovery Last?

Recovery time differs for all patients and usually lasts for several months. There is also a time gap between the dental implant replacement procedure and the abutment placement procedure, giving allowance for healing and bone growth. Since recovery time varies for all patients, it is hard to determine how long it will take exactly. However, some factors can determine the recovery time, such as:

  • The number of teeth extracted and implanted
  • Whether the procedure required bone grafting
  • Oral hygiene quality
  • Smoking habits

Since the bone and gums have to endure more stress during the procedure, this means the more implants placed, the longer the recovery time. The implant location also matters since the lower jawbone tends to heal quicker than the upper jaw.

Dentists tend to compare recovery to that of a tooth extraction. Coming around after sedation takes a few hours. The stitches tend to dissolve in a few days up to a couple of weeks, and by then post-procedure symptoms should disappear and Osseointegration can begin. This occurs when bone grows around the implant, securing it in place, which can take up to 5-7 months. At the same time, bone graft healing can last a few months. Generally, healing time before the crown takes up to a year on average. 

How Long Do These Implants Hurt During Recovery?

The implant surgery type will determine the pain level you are feeling. 

  • Simple procedure: If you had just one tooth replaced, and there was no bone grafting, the pain will be minimal. 
  • Moderate procedure: This is where most individuals fall. They tend to experience bruising, swelling, and discomfort after the procedure. 
  • Complex procedure: If you undergo many implant procedures or if the procedure was difficult, you may experience more pain.

Tips to Quicken the Dental Implant Recovery Process

Knowing what to expect after dental implant surgery, you may want to get rid of the discomfort and speed up the recovery process. Here are a few ways to make things more comfortable.

Take it easy

After the dental implant procedure, take the remaining part of the day to get some rest. If you were given anesthesia before the procedure, you might still be feeling dizzy. As such, you should not indulge yourself in activities that will require concentration, for instance, driving or studying. 

Avoid strenuous activities. Also, avoid bending or lifting something that could dislodge the blood clots and result in bleeding. While resting down, elevate your head using a pillow for extra comfort. 

Take Your medication

You will need pain medicine to get rid of the pain that causes discomfort. OTC pain relievers like NSAIDs and acetaminophen are an excellent option in most cases, but in other instances, your dentist will prescribe something stronger. 

Ways to Help The Recovery Process Go Quicker

Follow the Dentist's Instructions

Ensure you follow the post-procedure instructions since, in most cases, they are tailored to your situation. Your dentist may warn you against using mouthwash or brushing your teeth for some time. At the initial recovery point, your mouth is usually too sensitive for standard oral hygiene. 

Watch What You Eat

Dentists recommend soft cold foods after a dental implant procedure. Some solid options you can consider are:

  • Lukewarm soup
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt 
  •  Instant oatmeal

Creamy soups are an excellent source of nutrients and calories after a dental implant procedure as long as they are not too hot. Custard and milkshakes are also easy to consume. Once you have recovered to some extent, you can try some mashed potatoes, rice pudding, baked beans, soft cheese, smoothies, and pureed fruit. Avoid purees or smoothies with tiny seeds, as these can get stuck in your surgical wounds. 

Ensure you eat protein since it may be hard to get enough during the recovery time. You can make your own smoothie with powdered protein, milk fortified with additional protein, or peanut butter.

The goal is to eat soft cold foods that help in quickening the recovery process.

Apply Ice

This is a common solution to the swelling and bruising that is common after a dental implant procedure. Apply some ice to your jaw for half an hour, remove for 20 minutes, and repeat the process for the first 24 hours. Place ice to both sides of the mouth if the procedure was on both sides. The swelling should reduce in a few days. If it worsens, or you notice pus or catch a fever, there may be an infection, so you should check with your dentist immediately. 

Protect The Blood Clot

Ensure you do not interfere with the clot as it is healing the wounds in your mouth. Avoid carbonated drinks, alcohol, or drinks from a straw. Avoid smoking at all costs a few days after the procedure and, if possible, refrain from spitting now and then. 

Be On the Lookout

Pay attention to any signs of fevers, infections, or swellings that last more than two days. If you notice any unexpected irregularity with swallowing or breathing, check with your dentist right away. Some people also suffer an allergic reaction to the anesthesia the dentist used. If this is the case, see your dentist as soon as possible and visit the ER. 

Schedule Appointments 

Ensure you follow up with your dentist during the recovery period. It is vital to show up to all your post-procedure appointments so the dentist can check in with your healing process. 

Dental implants have a 95% overall success rate. Proper oral hygiene is important at this point of recovery. Consult with your dentist for alternative ways to ensure oral hygiene without interfering with the recovery process. The most recommended option is mixing water, salt, and sugar to kill bacteria in the mouth. 

Dental implants are a tried and true method dentists have used for decades to replace missing or irreparably damaged teeth. We at Ridgeview Dental want to help your smile to bring you and others joy. Call our Centennial, CO dental office today and schedule your consultation today!