Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically attached to the jawbone to act as an anchor for a permanent artificial tooth. Dentists usually recommend dental implants as a replacement option for patients who are missing one or more teeth.
There isn't one set recovery time that fits all patients who get dental implants because each person has a unique dental situation that affects the impact the surgery will have and their recovery. But, we can provide you with some general timelines.
On average, it takes approximately 5 to 7 days for all of the symptoms to go away after dental implant surgery. And, it could take between 2 to 6 months for a patient's gums to completely heal over, for their artificial tooth to be placed.
While the recovery times for this oral surgery are relatively short, they can vary based on how the procedure went, how well you care for yourself afterward, and how your body responds to the implant.
What You Can Expect After Your Surgery
A few symptoms you might develop on the first day include pain, swelling, and persistent bleeding. But there is no need to be worried! All of these signs are to be expected as your body heals itself.
To help make your recovery faster and minimize pain during healing, be careful not to disturb the surgical areas while it's healing, 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, 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.
Making the Healing Process Quicker
Excessive alcohol use, poor diet, smoking, and a lack of proper dental care (like brushing and flossing) can delay or impair your dental implant recovery time. We also suggest avoiding strenuous activities in the days directly after your surgery to keep the blood clot from dislodging and bleeding. At night, when you are getting ready for bed make sure you add extra pillows to keep your head elevated.
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.
Placing the Tooth Replacement
Once the initial healing has taken place, the implants will continue to naturally bond with the bone.
Sometimes, dentists are able to place the tooth replacement immediately after the surgery. But most of the time, 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.