Dental implant surgery is the most effective solution for replacing missing or damaged teeth. Consisting of titanium posts, dental implants replace a tooth’s root, anchoring a realistic-looking replacement crown to your jaw.
Implants are a secure foundation for your bite, improving the appearance of your smile in the process. Additionally, dental implants provide a range of health benefits, including stopping the movement of neighbouring teeth, reducing the risk of decay, and helping maintain the health of the supporting jaw.
If you’re considering dental implant surgery, it’s important to think about the recovery process. It can take time for your implants to settle in. During this time, there are things you can do to improve and ease your recovery.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what you can expect from your procedure and share some of the dos and don’ts of dental implant recovery.
Dental Implant Placement and Recovery
Titanium dental implants fuse with your jaw through a process called osseointegration. This natural process essentially involves the growth of your bone around the biocompatible implant. But, just like when a bone heals following a break, it can take time for your jaw to regain strength.
Because dental implants take time to bed into your jaw, we place them and your replacement teeth in stages, and it can take several months to complete.The time between each step of the placement process gives your bone a chance to heal fully.
The steps you may have in your treatment include:
- An assessment – Here, we’ll look at your jaw bone density and other health factors to determine whether dental implants are right for you.
- A bone graft – In some cases of insufficient bone mass, the only way your jaw can support implants is if you have a bone graft procedure first. In other cases, longer dental implants known as “zygomatic implants” may be an option.
- Implant placement – We’ll prepare the jaw so it’s ready to support your dental implant before finally placing it.
- Recovery time – We’ll give you temporary teeth to wear while we create your bespoke smile and until your jaw has healed.
- Placing your new smile – Once your jaw is ready to support your new teeth, we can fit your final teeth.
During the recovery process, certain things could speed up or hinder the process. Read on for the dos and don’ts.
DO: Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions
After your dental implant surgery, we’ll provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your implant and what to expect during recovery.
It’s essential that you follow these instructions carefully, as they are tailored to your specific needs and will help ensure that your implant heals correctly.
We’ll give you recommendations about certain foods to avoid, which type of pain medication you may need, and how to keep the implant area clean to prevent infection.
Following these instructions can help speed up the recovery process and reduce the risk of complications.
DON’T: Smoke, Vape, or Drink Alcohol
Smoking and vaping can significantly delay the healing process following dental implant surgery. Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco and vapes can constrict blood vessels and decrease blood flow to the implant site. This can lead to a slower healing time.
In addition, smoking can increase the risk of infection and other complications. It’s best to avoid tobacco products altogether, both before and after the surgery.
Similarly, drinking alcohol could also impact your recovery. Avoid drinking anything alcoholic for the first couple of weeks.
DO: Eat a Soft, Nutritious Diet
During the first few days after your dental implant surgery, you may experience some discomfort and swelling.To help minimise these symptoms, you should eat soft foods.This can include foods such as soup, yogourt, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes.
For the first day, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything hot. During this time, you may want to stick to yogourts, ice cream, or cold soups.
Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods, as these can irritate the implant site and slow down the healing process.
As the swelling goes down and any initial discomfort subsides, you can gradually bring in harder foods. You can normally start broadening your diet again after a week.
DON’T: Neglect Your Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is critical during the dental implant recovery process. Using a good, fluoride toothpaste and soft toothbrush, clean your teeth at least twice a day thoroughly. The implant site may still be sore; however, it’s still important to keep this area clean. Brush gently here to avoid causing any damage or irritation.
Using mouthwash periodically can also help remove any plaque that builds up throughout the day.
DO: Rest and Allow Your Body to Heal
As with any other type of surgical procedure, your dental implant treatment can leave you feeling tired. As such, rest is an important part of the recovery process.
Avoid any strenuous activity such as exercise or manual work immediately after your procedure, and do your best to take it easy for a couple of days. Strenuous activity could cause an increased blood flow to your implant site, which will bring more swelling.
DON’T: Touch the Implant Site
It may be tempting to explore your dental implant with your fingers or tongue. During the recovery process, avoid touching it or nudging it.
DO: Take Any Prescribed Medication
In some instances, we may prescribe medication such as antibiotics. It’s important to take these to avoid any infections that may affect your recovery. Similarly, take any over-the-counter pain relief as recommended.
DON’T: Suck On Straws
After surgery, the blood needs to clot around the treatment site. This is an important step in the recovery process. If you suck through a straw, or suck on anything like a lollipop or cigarette, you could pull the clot out of position. This could slow recovery, and it may cause a condition called dry socket.
Dental Implants at Love Teeth
Although the rules surrounding dental implant recovery may seem strict, if they’re followed, it will improve your experience and outcome. At Love Teeth, we’ve guided countless patients through every step of the treatment and recovery process, and our friendly team in our Cheam, Chessignton, Stonecot, Sutton, and Worcster Park clinics are here to do the same for you.
Call us today to schedule your initial dental implant consultation.