Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth in the mouth to prevent shifting teeth and other oral health problems. By leaving a gap in the teeth, the surrounding teeth will attempt to move into this space, which can cause crooked or overcrowded teeth.

While dental implants are more costly upfront and a more lengthy procedure in comparison to other tooth replacement treatments, they are more durable, preserve the jaw bone, and fully restore the function of your teeth. Here's what to expect from the healing process after dental implant surgery.

The Dental Implant Procedure & Healing Time

The first appointment involves making a minor incision into the jawbone to implant a titanium rod. This will take between a few days to 2 weeks to heal but it will take several months for the implant to fuse with the jaw bone in a process called osseointegration.

You will have follow-up appointments to check up on your progress and the second appointment is when the abutment will be attached, which connects the implant to the crown. During this procedure, the gums are reopened to attach the abutment. 

The healing time for this second minor surgery is from a few days to 2 weeks. Teeth impressions will be taken and sent to a dental lab to create your permanent crown, which will be placed 6 weeks after your second surgery.

You will heal faster if you only need one or two dental implants, require no bone grafting, and do not smoke. Your healing time is impacted by how many implants you receive and where, your bone health, if you smoke, whether bone grafting is needed, and your oral hygiene.

Aftercare & What to Expect

You can expect to experience some swelling and bleeding in the initial days following your dental implant procedure. To stop the bleeding, you will be given clean gauze to place at the sight of the implant. You will need to bite down on the gauze for 30 minutes to an hour. 

To relieve swelling, you can apply an ice pack to your jaw for 30 minutes at a time, with 15 minutes rest in between for the first 24 hours. However, watch out for excessive bleeding and swelling which extends past a few days, as this could be a sign of mucositis or peri-implantitis, which can cause implant failure. If you are experiencing excessive bleeding, contact your dentist right away.

You may experience some pain or discomfort in the first few days after the anesthetic wears off, but this is usually minimal since there are no nerve endings in the jawbone. Take over-the-counter pain medication to relieve pain. 

You should also swish around a saltwater solution in your mouth to reduce swelling and reduce the risk of infection, as you cannot brush or floss for the first 24 hours. You should also avoid vigorous activity for the 3 days following your dental implant surgery.

What Can I Eat After Dental Implant Surgery?

You can eat an hour after surgery, once you have removed your first set of gauze. Stick to soft foods that are cool or at room temperature. Try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth and don’t suck out of a straw. After 24 hours, you may be able to eat more solid foods depending on how you’re feeling, but safe foods to eat include applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, and warm mashed potatoes.

Interested in Dental Implants? Book a Consultation at Poulos & Somers Today!

Dental implants are an excellent artificial tooth replacement procedure that restores the appearance, function, and bone health of your teeth and jawbone. If you’re wondering if dental implants are right for you, contact us at Poulos & Somers to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Poulos, Dr. Nicholas Poulos, Dr. Ann Somers, or Dr. Kimberly Marshall