Healing After Dental Implants

Healing After Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium posts that are implanted into the jawbone and connected to an abutment and crown to form a complete tooth restoration. Before the abutment or crown can be attached to the implant, the post needs to fuse with the jawbone through osseointegration. This process takes 3-6 months. 

While implants are an invasive surgery that requires opening the gums and drilling into the jawbone, recovery is generally straightforward, associated with minimal pain, and has a high success rate of 95%. To learn more about the implant recovery process, read on in this blog from Advanced Dentistry of Mount Pleasant.

Factors That Impact Recovery

Many factors can prolong or accelerate the length of your recovery. Having healthy and adequate bone density is important for the success of the procedure. You will take longer to heal if you require bone grafting before receiving your implants. 

Other factors that can increase your recovery time include smoking, receiving multiple implants, not following aftercare instructions, having a medical condition such as diabetes, or any other conditions that affect bone healing.

Recovery Time

You will undergo two separate minor oral surgeries. The first is the placement of the implant, which requires making an incision into the gums and drilling into the jawbone. Healing of the mouth can take from a few days to 2 weeks but osseointegration, the process by which the implant fuses with the jawbone, generally takes between 3-6 months to complete. 

For some individuals, however, the jaw may take 6-9 months to integrate with the implant and heal. Osseointegration must be completed before the next procedure. At your next appointment, the dentist will reopen the gums to attach an abutment to the implant. 

Your mouth will take another few days to 2 weeks to heal and you will receive your dental crown a few weeks later. Once the tooth restoration has been completed, you can use your tooth as normal but it may take up to 9 months for your jaw to fully heal. 

First 24 Hours Aftercare

In the first 24 hours following your dental implant procedure, you will need to focus on blood clotting, reducing pain, and mitigating swelling. Bleeding is to be expected after oral surgery, but inform your dentist if the bleeding is excessive or continues for longer than 72 hours. 

To stop the bleeding, you will be given gauze to bite down on for about 30 minutes to help form a blood clot. This may need to be periodically changed with fresh dampened gauze or a wet caffeinated tea bag, which can help to reduce bleeding. 

It is important not to dislodge or disturb your blood clots, so stick to soft foods and only rinse your mouth with a lukewarm saltwater solution for the first 24 hours. Do not spit, as this can also dislodge the blood clot. Instead, lean over the sink and let the solution fall out into the sink.

To reduce swelling, elevate your head and apply a cold compress to the area for 15 minutes and 15 minutes off. You may experience some pain or soreness at the site of the implant. You should rest for the rest of the day and avoid strenuous activity.

We recommend taking an anti-inflammatory pain medication like ibuprofen. Stick to soft foods and do not chew at the site of the implant. You may have a slight temperature after the procedure which is normal. However, contact your dentist if your temperature exceeds 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Long-Term Aftercare

General aftercare includes avoiding smoking, all tobacco products, and alcohol. All of these things negatively impact your healing and increase your risk of developing an infection or dry socket. For the first few days, stick to soft foods and do not drink hot liquids. 

Anti-inflammatory pain medication can be taken for 3-4 days if necessary. Bleeding should reduce each day and should not persist past 72 hours following the implant procedure. Swelling will peak on day two or three and will go down. 

After about a week, you should be able to reintroduce semi-solid or solid foods with the approval of your dentist. After the first 24 hours, you can return to brushing and flossing your teeth like normal as long as you avoid your implant while it is healing. Excessive bleeding and pain that does not go away after several days should be taken seriously and mentioned to your dentist. 

Dental Implants at Advanced Dentistry of Mount Pleasant

Though dental implants require months of patience, multiple oral surgeries, and recovery, the process will leave you with a fully restored tooth that won’t shift around on you and can last a lifetime. If osseointegration is completed successfully, your implant will prevent bone loss and shifting teeth. If you’re interested in dental implants, contact us at Advanced Dentistry of Mount Pleasant today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Candice Vinson.