What is the Healing Process After Dental Implants?

Dental implants are composed of a titanium post, an abutment, and an attached restoration in the form of a dental crown or a denture. By embedding the implant into the jawbone, the bone grows around the implant and fuses with it to form an artificial tooth root over 3 to 6 months. 

This unique feature sets implants apart from other restorations because it stabilizes the tooth firmly in place so that it will never move and stimulation to the jawbone prevents bone loss. 

While you may be interested in these benefits, you might be concerned about the length of the procedure and recovery process. Read on in this blog from Foothill Modern Dental to learn why the implant process is nothing to stress about.

What Factors Impact Length of Recovery?

To determine how long it will take you to heal from dental implants, many different factors need to be considered. For one, some patients need to have teeth extracted before replacing them with dental implants. 

They will need to fully heal from this procedure before they can move forward with dental implants and this may also impact the length of recovery once they undergo additional oral surgery. 

Some patients also lack enough bone support for implants and will need to get bone grafts. Patients with bone grafts may take longer to heal than patients who had sufficient healthy bone structure, to begin with. Other factors that impact the length of recovery include the number of implants, where they are located, your age, general health, and individual differences in healing.

How Long Does It Take to Heal From Dental Implant Placement?

If you need bone grafts, it will take 3 to 6 months to heal from this procedure before you can receive any implants. During the actual implant process, two oral surgeries will be performed. The first oral surgery is the implantation of the titanium post. 

Some patients will heal within just a day but it can take up to 2 weeks to heal from the incision. Even though this timeframe is relatively short, it will still take 3 to 6 months for osseointegration to occur which is the fusion of the implant with the jawbone. 

Until this happens, we cannot move forward with the second oral surgery. If osseointegration is complete, the gums will be reopened to attach the abutment. This second oral surgery is comparable to the first one and patients’ healing time can range from one day to 2 weeks. 

After this, you just need to receive your restoration and this takes about 6 weeks to fabricate. There are no further invasive procedures necessary and you will be fully healed.

Aftercare Protocols to Promote Healing

Immediately following implant placement, you will experience bleeding at the implant site. Gauze will be placed at the implant site and you will need to bite down on them for 30 to 60 minutes to stop the bleeding. However, minor bleeding may continue for up to 72 hours. 

It can look like more than it is because it mixes with your saliva. Regularly change your gauze to fresh dampened gauze every few hours, as needed. Don’t wait for the gauze to become soaked with blood before changing them. Tea bags contain tannic acid which constricts blood vessels so dampening a tea bag and biting down on it will also help stop the bleeding.

Swelling will peak 2 to 3 days after surgery. To reduce swelling, take anti-inflammatory pain medication, keep your head elevated, and ice the area for 15 minutes at a time. You will need to eat a soft food diet for at least a week. 

Minimal chewing is necessary to avoid irritating the implant site and worsening the bleeding. In the first day or two, it’s best to stick to a mostly liquid diet. However, you should not drink through a straw for the first 24 hours. 

You also shouldn’t drink alcohol, vigorously rinse your mouth, or brush your teeth. After the first 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a saline solution a few times a day. You can then gently brush and floss as you stay away from the implant site.

Avoid strenuous activity for a few days and abstain from smoking and tobacco products while you heal. Do not eat hard, chewy, or sticky foods. Try to chew on the other side of your mouth.

Have a Question About Implant Recovery or Interested in Dental Implants? Contact us Today!

Despite a few months of healing and a short period of diet restriction, overall the recovery process for dental implants is straightforward and well worth the lifelong tooth replacement. If you are considering getting dental implants to replace a tooth or an entire arch of teeth, contact us at Foothill Modern Dental today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sarno.

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