If you have an interest in replacing missing teeth with dental implants, you’re probably wondering what the recovery process is like and how long it takes to heal from the procedure.
Despite being a little invasive and time-consuming, dental implants are well worth the hassle to have a stable, durable tooth replacement for the rest of your life that won’t cause bone resorption.
Read on in this blog from Columbia River Dental to learn about aftercare protocols a general healing timeline, and what you can do to promote a speedy recovery.
What to Expect & Healing Timeline
Healing After Implantation - You will undergo two separate oral surgeries. The first oral surgery is the placement of the titanium post into your jawbone. Depending on the location of the implant, the health of your jawbone, the number of implants received, and other individual healing differences, you may take a few days to 2 weeks to heal.
Osseointegration - While the healing around the actual implant site will take no longer than 2 weeks, it will take 3 to 6 months for osseointegration to be complete. This is when the implant becomes fused with the jawbone to form an artificial tooth root. This is a crucial aspect of your recovery and if this fails, your implant has a high chance of failure. You must avoid smoking during this time.
Abutment Placement Healing - After osseointegration, we need to reopen your gums to attach the abutment so it can act as the connection point between the implant and crown. You can expect a similar length of healing as the first oral surgery. This may take as little as a few days or as long as 2 weeks.
Crown Placement - Even though you will be fully healed after just 2 weeks post-abutment placement, you will not receive your dental crown for another 6 weeks after this procedure because this is how long it takes for fabrication. Crown placement is non-invasive and you will not experience any pain or discomfort. This is the end of the process and your implant is now fully complete.
Bleeding After Dental Implants, What’s Normal?
You will experience minor bleeding, swelling, and discomfort following implant placement. This is completely normal and there are steps you can take to mitigate this. To stop the bleeding, you will need to bite down on gauze that is placed at the implant site immediately after surgery for about 30 to 60 minutes.
Regularly change and dampen your gauze as needed. Do this before they become soaked with blood. Bleeding will continue for up to 72 hours but should not be excessive. If bleeding continues past this point or gets worse as time goes on, this could be a sign of peri-implantitis and you should contact us right away as this is a dental emergency.
If the implant site continues to bleed, you can switch to biting down on a wet caffeinated tea bag instead of gauze, as the tannic acid inside will constrict the blood vessels and encourage blood clotting. Swelling will peak 2 to 3 days after implant surgery.
You can reduce swelling by applying a cold pack to the area for about 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off in the first 24 hours and keep the head elevated. Taking anti-inflammatory medication will help reduce swelling and pain.
You should avoid smoking during your recovery, as this increases your risk of implant failure. For the first 24 hours, do not drink alcohol, consume hot foods or drinks, engage in strenuous activity, drink through a straw, or vigorously rinse your mouth.
After 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution a few times a day and you can brush and floss your teeth as long as you avoid the implant site. You shouldn’t exercise for the first few days and should stick to a soft food diet for at least a week. In the first day or 2 after surgery, you will need to consume a mostly liquid diet. Try to minimize chewing as much as possible and chew on the other side of your mouth.
What to Avoid Eating
You need to avoid hard, sticky, crunchy, and chewy foods as you recover from implant surgery. Excessive chewing can cause irritation and pain, and dislodge the blood clot. You should also avoid spicy and acidic foods which can also irritate the implant site, especially in the first few days.
Avoid foods like nuts, seeds, popcorn, candy, caramel, chips, and tough meats for the first 1 to 2 weeks after implant surgery. Prioritize getting enough nutrients, calories, protein, and hydration throughout the day.
Find Out If Dental Implants Are Right for You At Columbia River Dental Today!
The dental implant healing process does not take considerably long and only takes a few days to a week of considerable restrictions in your diet and to deal with some minor discomfort.
If you’re interested in finding out if dental implants are right for you or want to learn more about the recovery process, contact us at Columbia River Dental to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jonathan Feller.