What to Do After Dental Implant Surgery
A dental implant is a long-term solution for replacing missing teeth. The implant is a titanium screw placed directly into your jawbone, replacing your missing tooth root. After it’s fitted, the bone surrounding your implant will gradually fuse to it, holding the implant firmly in place.
Here are some dental implant aftercare tips to help you make your recovery faster and easier during the initial healing process after your dental implant surgery:
How Long Will It Take the Dental Implant to Fully Heal?
It’s important to remember that this is oral surgery, and like any surgery, it will take time to heal. It takes about an average of four to six months for dental implants to fully heal (or integrate). The type of implant procedure, number of implants placed, their location in the mouth, and whether bone grafting is required can also affect how long treatment can take.
What to expect after dental implant placement
- Minor Bleeding: you can expect to see a little bleeding from the surgical site for 48-72 hours after dental implant treatment. Applying slight pressure by biting down on the gauze your doctor placed will help stop any persistent bleeding while promoting the formation of blood clots. Be careful to avoid rinsing, spitting, or blowing your nose, as this can aggravate the sensitive tissue and stimulate bleeding.
- Swelling: You may have some swelling or bruising following your implant surgery – this is quite normal and will subside after a few days. Applying ice packs (or a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a towel to the side of the face where the implant was placed can help reduce the swelling (apply it intermittently – 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off). After two days, applying moist heat instead of an ice pack will help reduce the size of the swelling faster.
- Medication: You will likely experience mild pain and discomfort after having dental implants. Prescription pain medication is seldomly needed however if given take the prescription pain medication as prescribed, as well as any other medication you’ll be given, such as antibiotics. As the discomfort from the surgery lessens overtime over, counter pain medication can be used as needed as well.
Caring for Your Mouth After Dental Implant Surgery
- Diet: In the first 48 hours after surgery different foods and beverages may cause temporary discomfort. It’s best to avoid sticky or hard foods such as ice cubes, nuts, popcorn, chips, and brittle. It’s also in your best interest to avoid spicy food or highly seasoned, or acidic foods as well. A soft food diet is the best approach during the first week after surgery. Stick to soft foods like soups, pasta, and mashed potatoes, taking care to avoid the surgical area(s) when chewing. Try not to disturb the surgical area with your tongue or fingers, and don’t drink through a straw.
- Proper Oral hygiene: Successful dental implant surgery depends on keeping the mouth as clean as possible. Maintain good oral hygiene measures in the areas of your mouth not affected by the surgery. Carefully brush your teeth, and don’t rinse your mouth, as this may rinse away the blood clot.
- Minimal activity: Keep physical exercise to a minimum immediately following your surgery. Physical activity after your procedure can cause painful throbbing and bleeding.
Dental Implant Aftercare
During the initial healing period after your dental implant procedure, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions and proper care of yourself to avoid any complications such as infections and ensure successful treatment. Dr. Figueiredo and our exceptional dental team at Thrive Dental Studio in Portland ME will provide you with detailed instructions on caring for your mouth after the placement of dental implants. If you have missing teeth and are considering dental implants, please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule an appointment.