Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically attached to the jawbone to act as an anchor for a permanent artificial tooth. Dental implants are usually a recommended option for anyone missing one or more teeth.
There is no set-in-stone recovery time for all implant patients since each patient will have a unique oral condition that affects the surgery and their recovery. However, we can look at general timelines.
For most patients, symptoms subside about 5 – 7 days after the dental implant surgery. Between 2 – 6 months later, gums will be fully healed and the patient's new artificial tooth can be placed.
While recovery is generally short for this oral surgery procedure, recovery time can vary depending on how the procedure went, how well you take care of yourself after, and how your body reacts to the implant.
What To Expect After Surgery
Some symptoms you may experience on the first day include persistent bleeding, swelling and pain. These can be unpleasant to experience, but they aren't necessarily cause for worry! These are all normal signs that your body is healing itself after this procedure.
To help make your recovery faster and minimize pain during healing, be careful not to disturb the surgical areas during the healing process, and follow your dentist's instructions for post-surgery care.
On the second and third days after surgery, your body will continue to heal itself. There maybe be some minor swelling, and mild discomfort and bruising that lasts for a few days. However, this is typically well-managed by medication and post-operative care. If swelling, discomfort or other issues worsen in the days following your procedure, contact your dentist.
After about 7 to 10 days, most patients can return to a normal diet. In some cases, patients may be advised to stick to a soft diet for up to 6 weeks following the procedure.
Speeding up the Healing Process
Dental implant recovery time and the healing process can be delayed or impaired by smoking, poor diet, excessive alcohol use, and lack of proper dental care (such as regular brushing). We also recommend that dental implant patients avoid strenuous activities in the days immediately following surgery to prevent dislodging the blood clot and causing bleeding. When it's time to go to bed, elevate your head using extra pillows.
Other factors that could impact recovery time include the number of teeth that needed to be extracted and implanted; whether the bone is healthy enough for the implants to bond to; if the procedure required bone grafting; and individual differences in healing time.
Maintaining oral hygiene and home care is essential to recovery and helps to ensure that no plaque or infection builds up around the gums. After 24 hours, you can also begin to gently rinse with salt water, apply ice as needed, and be sure to rest as much as possible.
Adding a Tooth Replacement
Once the initial healing has taken place, the implants will continue to naturally bond with the bone.
In some cases, a tooth replacement can be added immediately. More commonly, a tooth replacement such as a crown or bridge will be added anywhere from 2 to 6 months after the implant has been placed and the gums are fully healed.