What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery

Although dental implant installations may seem like a minor procedure, it is very important to give your body the time it needs to heal and grow strong once again. Implant surgery varies greatly and everyone’s recovery experience will be different, so it’s important to know what to expect.

We can help to answer all of your questions regarding the post operative stages of dental implant surgery, including tips for managing swelling, follow ups with your dentist and getting sutures removed.  

Some patients only require one dental implant placement and others get several implants, as well as implant supported dentures. In this article we will discuss the general recovery time for most patients, but it’s best to follow up directly with your dentist in order to get a good sense of the recovery process for your specific implant placement. 

With dental implant surgery, your recovery time will vary depending on how many implants you had installed, however, in general the full recovery period takes 2-4 months.

Still have questions about the pre-surgery experience? Be sure to read our post on What to Expect Before Dental Implant Surgery!

Immediately After Surgery 

After your dental implant surgery, you will most likely feel sore and tender in the jaw area. The numbing medication and local anesthetic will help to combat any immediate pain. 

Rest, Relax and Recover 

After dental implant surgery, rest is the key. If you can, book your surgery for a day that you have off, or take the day off work. You may feel tired after the procedure as your body has just been through a fairly invasive surgery. Take it easy for the first few days after your procedure and monitor your symptoms for improvement. 

Take Over the Counter Pain Relievers 

Your dentist will prescribe pain medications if needed but it’s best to take a conservative approach to managing any pain with over the counter anti-inflammatories. 

Control Swelling With Ice 

If you have taken anti inflammatory medication but are still looking for additional relief, an ice pack held against your cheek for 15-20 minutes can help to bring swelling down. 

Eat Only Liquids 

Your dentist will suggest a liquid diet for at least 24h after your surgery. Do not worry, it is not necessary for several days. It’s just needed for a short period of time to avoid any immediate damage or trapped food in the area that was operated on. One other important dietary note to remember is avoid eating very hot or warm foods, this can cause unnecessary bleeding in your mouth after the procedure. While your stitches are healing, stick to cool or lukewarm foods. 

The First Week After Surgery 

Follow Up With Your Dentist 

Your dentist will want to see you shortly after your procedure for a series of follow up consultations. These will normally start a week after your surgery and extend bi-weekly for the first month. Your dentist will be checking to be sure your gums and the tissue around your implant are healing properly. They will also be checking for any signs of infection, damage or irritation. 

Remove Sutures 

After 2 weeks, your stitches are free to be removed. By this time, the gum tissue will have healed around the incision points sufficiently enough to avoid any potential re-openings of the wound. You still require plenty of healing time, but it is a big milestone to get your stitches out as it means less irritation for your gums. 

Introduce Solid Foods 

After the first week, your swelling should be subsiding and it’s possible to re-introduce more solid, hearty foods into your diet. Although you only need to be on a liquid diet for the first 24h after surgery, it’s best to avoid solid foods for the first week post-op if possible. 

This means, try not to eat foods that require excessive chewing or crunching and instead, opt for meals with softer textures. Once you hit the first week after surgery, you can expand on your diet and re-incorporate some solid foods. 

Bruising and Swelling 

Your swelling should go down significantly after the first week of your procedure. Likewise, visible bruising is less common, but if it happens, it should subside after the first week. 

It is likely that your mouth will still be tender, but it should start to show signs of improvement. Your cheek and jaw area may still appear slightly puffy and swollen however, for the first week or two after surgery. 

First Month After Surgery 

Reduced Swelling 

One month after your dental implant surgery, swelling should have completely subsided. You can get back to your normal activities and your cheek and jaw area should return to normal. 

Less Pain

After one month, you should be off any prescription pain medications as the pain will have improved significantly. As your gums and surrounding tissues heal, however, some patients often report a feeling of ‘itchiness’ around their surgery site. 

If this occurs, try to avoid irritating the area by scratching it or feeling it with your tongue. The itchiness is a sign that your gums are healing and it will subside within a few days. 

Implants Integrate With the Jaw Bone

At the 1 month mark, your jaw bone will start to grow around the dental implants to secure them in place. It will have had enough time to recover to a point that it can start integrating with your jaw bone. 

This bio-integration means that your natural jaw tissue will start growing on and around your new titanium dental implant. This is the secret behind your dental implant’s natural, tooth-like strength. It integrates as part of your body as you heal. 

This will continue over the next few months and soon, your implant will be strong and stable just like your natural teeth. 

Next Steps 

After 2 months, you will meet with your dentist to assess the healing and if everything is looking healthy, you will be able to have the final step of dental implants installed. Crowns will be placed on the implant or several implants you had installed. This will complete the look and fill the gap in your smile with a natural looking prosthetic tooth. 

If you are getting implant supported dentures, your denture adhesives will be placed at this time as well. At our clinic we also offer same-day implants. If you choose this option, there is no final step needed and you should be fully recovered. 

If you still experience any pain, bleeding, swelling or discomfort, tell your dentist at this time. Symptoms such as this should not last over a month for most patients. It could be a sign of infection and you should talk with your dentist immediately in order to treat and resolve the problem. 

Ready to Get Your Dental Implants? 

If you've read up on the differences between dentures and dental implants, done your homework on what to expect before and after dental implants, and are finally ready to invest in your smile, our team here at Glen Dental Centre in Coquitlam, BC is ready to help you start your dental implants journey.

Whether you have been missing teeth for a long period of time or you recently experienced tooth loss, our team can work on a personalized dental implant solution to meet your specific goals. 

A simple consultation is the first step to getting your dental implant surgery and we will be there every step of the way to help you recover. Now that’s something to smile about! - book an appointment today

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