Dental implant treatment can be a long process. Although the full process can take several months, the results are permanent, making dental implant treatment one of the most sought after treatments for replacing missing teeth. Implant dentistry can be tailored to meet the restorative needs of each patient, replacing as little as one tooth to a full arch of teeth. Before undergoing dental implant treatment, it’s important to be aware of the full dental implant surgery recovery timeline. Contact our Chicago, IL practice Winterset Dental Care for your personalized recovery timeline.
Dental Implant Surgery Recovery Timeline
The recovery timeline for dental implant surgery will vary from patient to patient depending on the number of implants placed, whether or not a bone graft is require, and personal healing times. Recovery after a single implant without a bone graft may take between six weeks to six months. However, incisions in the gums will heal much faster.
The First Few Days after Surgery
Patients can expect to experience discomfort and swelling during the first few days of recovery. For most, over-the-counter pain medications are typically sufficient for relieving pain. During the first 24 hours, it’s particularly important that patients refrain from spitting or touching the mouth to prevent infection. Swelling may also be prevalent during the first 48 hours after surgery and can be relieved with ice packs. It is also recommended that patients gently gargle with warm salt water four to five times a day for the first few days after surgery to reduce the risk of infection and help the gums heal. Smokers should refrain from smoking during the full recovery process because smoking inhibits healing and increases the risk of implant failure.
The First Week after Surgery
Patients should continue to brush and floss their teeth during the initial recovery but will need to avoid brushing where the implant was placed to prevent irritation. Also, eating soft foods is recommended for the first few days to a week after surgery. After about seven to ten days, patients should notice swelling and discomfort has cleared or lessened substantially. Around this time, many patients will be able to resume their normal diet while others may need to wait a full six weeks.
Six Weeks after Surgery
Depending on personal healing times, some patients may be completely recovered by the sixth week. After six weeks, most patients will be healed enough to enjoy their normal diet. Those who smoke may start smoking again provided they’ve healed sufficiently.
Why Does Recovery Take So Long?
A full recovery from dental implant surgery can take a great deal of time. This is because the jawbone must fully heal and bond to the dental implant, a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration is a slow process but it is necessary for the success of dental implant surgery.
Tips for Recovery
Following all instructions before and after surgery can help ensure positive results along with these useful tips.
- Quit smoking at least four weeks prior to surgery and during recovery to reduce the risk of implant failure
- Continue to practice proper oral hygiene habits but use care to avoid the implant site while healing
- Use a soft-bristled brush when brushing the teeth to avoid irritating the implant site
- Eat soft foods while the jaw heals to reduce pain
- Avoid eating hard, crunchy foods that can irritate sensitive gums during healing
- Gargle with a solution of warm salt water to help reduce discomfort and aid in healing
For more information about dental implant treatment, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with our team at Winterset Dental Care.