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Healing After Dental Implants: What to Expect

Dental implants are an excellent way to replace missing teeth. They preserve the jawbone to prevent further bone loss, are easy to maintain, improve the appearance of your smile, and fully restore the function of your teeth.

If you’re wondering about how long the dental implant healing process is, what it entails, and how to encourage fast recovery, read on. In this blog from Eastside Family Dentistry, we’re breaking down the procedure, recovery period, and aftercare for dental implants.

The Procedure & Recovery Period

The dental implant process can be costly and drawn out, but it’s worth it for the long-term results you will receive. No other tooth replacement can prevent bone loss and last for a lifetime. Dental implants are also the only tooth replacement that fully functions just like normal teeth.

The implant process is carried out in three separate appointments. The first appointment is when the initial incision into the gums will be made and then Dr. Alexandra Cristescu will drill into the jawbone. 

An implant made of titanium will be implanted into the jawbone. It’s a rod that looks like a screw and it will take from a few days to 2 weeks to heal from this minor surgery. However, you will have to wait 3-6 months for the implant to fuse with jaw bone (osseointegration).

The next appointment will take place after the osseointegration is complete. The gums will be reopened to attach an abutment to the implant. This will take the same amount of healing time as the first procedure, ranging from a few days to two weeks.

Six weeks later, your permanent crown will be ready to be attached. Digital images and x-rays will have been taken to perfectly create a matching artificial tooth that blends in with your natural ones. After you receive your crown, you will be completely healed and can eat and clean your teeth like normal.

The Recovery Process

You will have been given a local anesthetic before the implant procedure, but after this wears off you may experience some pain or discomfort that can last for a few days. Taking some over-the-counter anti-pain medication should be enough for relief. 

The site of the implant will bleed a little bit because you just experienced a minor oral surgery. You will be given some fresh gauze immediately after the procedure to bite down on for 30 minutes to an hour. You will need to change the gauze after 30 minutes. 

Bleeding can last anywhere from 48-72 hours but should not be extensive or severe. You can try biting down on a moist caffeinated tea bag to help clot the blood. Caffeinated tea bags contain a chemical called tannic acid and this promotes blood clotting. 

If your bleeding seems excessive or prolonged, contact your dentist right away, as this could be a sign of mucositis or peri-implantitis. You may also see signs of swelling or bruising and this will peak on the second and third day post-implant procedure. 

If you apply an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time with 10 minutes rest in between, it will reduce the swelling for the first 24 hours, after which the effectiveness will subside. Avoid smoking, tobacco products, excessive alcohol, and denture use. 

Your Diet During Recovery

Do not eat or drink anything besides water until the local anesthesia has worn off so you don’t accidentally bite or burn yourself. Once your mouth is no longer numb, only eat very soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. 

Don’t chew on the side of the implant site and stay away from hot foods and drinks, alcohol, and spicy food for the first day. Your dentist will let you know when it is safe to introduce normal foods back into your diet, but it may take a few days. While you are recovering, stay away from really hard and sticky foods that can get lodged into the implant site

Dental Implants at Eastside Family Dentistry

Have you lost a tooth? Want to prevent shifting, crooked, and overcrowded teeth? Dental implants are the best method of tooth replacement to preserve jawbone health and fully restore the function and appearance of your teeth. Contact us at Eastside Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Alexandra Cristescu and find out if dental implants are right for you.

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