Missing teeth have a huge impact on the health and function of the mouth. While there are many restorative dentistry treatments to address tooth loss, there is none more comfortable, durable, or reliable than dental implants. Dental implants are small titanium screws that replace missing teeth in their entirety, right down to their roots. Dental implants are surgically placed into the tissues of the jawbone, where they will fuse with the patient’s natural bone. When dental implants have healed, they act as anchors to secure an appropriate dental restoration, such as dental crowns, dental bridges, or dentures.
Dental implants are the strongest and longest-lasting replacement for missing teeth, but the success of treatment is dependent on the recovery process. Dr. Clint Newman prepares patients for what to expect from dental implant surgery recovery following treatment at our Nashville, TN practice. He also offers tips so the implants successfully fuse with the jawbone.
Dental Implant Side Effects
Dental implants are placed via oral surgery. Although the procedure is performed using adequate anesthesia to ensure that the patient remains comfortable throughout treatment, side effects will develop in the days immediately following. Side effects are a natural part of the recovery process and should not be cause for alarm. Below are some of the most common side effects of dental implant surgery:
- Discomfort: Most patients will experience mild to moderate discomfort in the first few days after dental implant surgery. This is most often described as a dull aching or tenderness in the jaw, teeth, and gums immediately surrounding the surgical site. Patients can take pain medication as directed to control this pain. Patients should opt for soft foods until comfort returns.
- Swelling: The gums around the implant site are likely to be swollen. Swelling can vary in severity from patient to patient. In some patients, this swelling may only be visible at the gums, but others may notice a slight swelling of the cheek adjacent to the surgical site. Swelling will be most severe around two to three days after surgery and should begin subsiding after that. Ice packs may be used to minimize swelling.
- Bleeding: It is normal for the surgical site to bleed after dental implant surgery. We will provide patients with gauze packs to place pressure on the surgical site and absorb any blood. These packs will need to be changed periodically. Bleeding may persist for up to 48 hours after surgery, but it should not be severe.
How Long Is Dental Implant Recovery?
The initial recovery period following dental implant surgery is short-lived. Most patients notice an improvement in discomfort and swelling within about four days after surgery. From there, the surgical site will continue to improve as the tissues heal.
Within a week, most patients are free of dental implant side effects. However, full recovery from dental implant surgery takes much longer. It takes four to six months for the implant to fuse with the jaw, a process known as osseointegration. During this time period, patients must care for the teeth and gums properly to minimize the risk of dental implant failure.
Dental Implant Recovery Tips
With proper care, dental implant surgery should be a complete success. Patients can do their part to encourage healing by practicing the following tips:
- Patients should continue to brush and floss regularly to avoid bacteria buildup
- Use an additional mouthwash to further clean the mouth
- Avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco, both of which can impede the healing process
- Maintain any scheduled follow-up appointments with Dr. Newman
- Report any unusual side effects as soon as possible
Dental implants are the strongest and most natural replacement for missing teeth. If you have experienced tooth loss and would like to know if dental implants are right for you, contact us at your earliest convenience.