Are you planning on getting dental implant surgery? Whether you are just having one tooth replaced, a few, or an entire mouthful, you will probably be very glad you did it. Dental implants are among the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures available today. Many clinics are opening up that do nothing but dental implants. Some of them even advertise themselves as places to go to get an entire new smile in a day. Regardless of whether your dental implant surgery is a small or large procedure, you will experience similar things during your recovery. You will also need to take the same precautions while you recover. Here are the three main things you need to know about recovering from dental implant surgery before you go to the dentist or implant clinic.
1. The Healing Time Is Longer Than You May Think
While the initial soreness, swelling, and inflammation from the surgery will quiet down in a few days to a week at most after the procedure, complete healing takes a lot longer. According to the Academy of Osseointegration, it will take two to four months for the screws that connect your implants to your jawbone to totally set in most cases. Setting means that the bone in your jaw has attached itself to the screws, and the implants are secure.
Until this happens, your dental implants could loosen, break, or even fall from your mouth if you bite down on something that is too hard or if you grind your teeth at night. Eating soft foods and wearing a night guard (if you're a tooth grinder) is a must until your dentist gives you the all-clear.
2. You Will Probably Experience Some Minor Discomfort Right After the Surgery
Minor discomfort is common after dental implant surgery. However, it is usually not very bad for most people. In most cases, it is no worse than what you would experience after getting a filling or a crown. You will likely experience some swelling, minor pain, a tiny bit of bleeding, and in rare cases, gum bruising.
Most of the time, this only lasts for a few days at most. The vast majority of people who get dental implants do not require any medication after the procedure. An over-the-counter pain reliever is sufficient for anyone who needs something for the pain. A lot of people don't even need that.
If you find your post-operative discomfort is more than you can tolerate, or if the swelling doesn't go down in a few days, call your dentist. You may need an antibiotic and/or a prescription-strength pain reliever.
3. You Will Have Several Follow-Up Appointments Before Being Released from Care
Your dentist has to make sure your gums and bone are healing properly after your dental implant surgery. Oral surgery is just like any other kind of major surgery and has the same risk of complications. Complications are rare, but in some cases you could experience:
- Loosening of the implant
- Slow healing of the gums or bone
- Bone not adhering to the screws
- Infection at the surgical site
- Irritation of the gums by the materials in the implants or screws
- Improper fitting of the implant
You will probably go see your dentist for follow-up visits on a regular schedule until you are completely healed. The visits will be frequent at first, then less and less so as you begin to heal more. Once you are completely healed, you can resume going to your dentist for twice yearly cleanings as usual.
Getting dental implants is a wonderful thing. You are getting a whole new smile that you will likely love. As long as you know what to expect from your recovery going into it, there will be no surprises, and you will get through the surgery beautifully. Contact your dentist today about scheduling your dental implant surgery and get your perfect new teeth.