Phoenix Dental Implant Healing, Recovery
Dental implants are often the most effective method of tooth replacement, fusing to the jaw for a strong, permanent hold. For the right candidate, implant surgery can be a safe and reliable procedure, although recovery time is needed. After receiving implants, patients should know what to expect from their recovery and how long the healing process should take. If you are considering dental implants or have recently had them installed, use the information below to better gauge your healing timeline.
Immediately after Surgery
After implant surgery at our Phoenix cosmetic dentistry center, you should expect to rest for the remainder of the day. Because local anesthesia and sedation are used, as opposed to general anesthesia, you may experience grogginess, dizziness, or headaches that will gradually dissipate over the course of the day. Minor bleeding may also persist for a few hours after surgery, which should be manageable through the application of a gauze pad. If bleeding cannot be controlled or does not resolve, contact your dentist.
Due to the anesthetic used for surgery, your mouth may still be numb when you arrive home. Whether you are using prescription or over-the-counter painkillers, take them before the anesthetic completely wears off, and continue their use as directed.
The First Week
Side effects of surgery should be most apparent over the first three days, usually subsiding within the week. During this time, it common for patients to experience any of the following side effects:
- Swelling: You can expect some degree of post-operative swelling around the implant. The use of an ice pack or cold compress can help reduce swelling over the first 48 hours. For the best results, hold an ice pack over the area in 15- to 20-minute intervals.
- Bruising: Your jaw may appear bruised near the area of surgery, particularly once swelling has decreased. This should fade in a few days.
- Pain: The responsible use of painkillers should be enough to manage pain over the first week. Many patients find that store bought products, such as those containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are enough to handle pain.
Each patient’s experience will be different, depending largely on their dental health and general immune system. Those with no prior or existing dental problems are likely to have very mild side effects, whereas patients who required a bone graft for the procedure will experience more swelling, bruising, and discomfort.
If side effects significantly worsen or continue past ten days, an infection may be present. Consult your dentist immediately if you suspect any infection or complication during recovery.
The Following Months
Even though side effects should resolve within seven to ten days, it will take months for the implant to fully fuse with the jawbone. This process is called osseointegration, wherein the bone heals around the implant, fusing as it would to a natural tooth’s roots. Until the implant has integrated with the jaw, it will may be capped with a temporary dental crown, have a healing screw or a healing abutment . Once osseointegration is complete, usually in three to six months, a permanent crown can be used.
During this healing time, your mouth may feel strong and healthy, but be aware that the implant and underlying bone are still relatively vulnerable. You should be able to engage in all regular activities without risk, although any damage to your jaw may disrupt the healing process. To help protect the implant and promote healing, avoid foods that are particularly hard, tough, or chewy.
Finally, remember that dental hygiene is crucial to the health of your teeth, implant restorations included. Gently brush, floss and use a water pick to clean your restoration with the same care and diligence, if not more, than any other tooth.
Treat Your Tooth Loss
Lost teeth become an immediately negative factor in your appearance and health. Treat any tooth loss as soon as it occurs with dental implants or a similar replacement technique. To learn how we can keep your smile full and strong, contact our office to set up an appointment with Dr. Holton.