Do you have missing or badly diseased teeth? Is it hurting your confidence? Well, getting a dental implant is a great option for replacing missing or damaged teeth. But do you know about the recovery process and the myths associated? Well, we are here to help.
What are Dental Implants?
One of the most comfortable and stable restorative options for missing teeth, implants come closest to your natural teeth, in terms of functionality and appearance.
Dental implants surgery is typically a multi-stage procedure that consists of the following steps:
Consultation – Your dentist will schedule a consultation with you to go over your requirements, your dental health, treatment plan, financial details, and what to expect during the treatment. At this point, your dentist may take teeth & jaw impressions and send a prescription for the crown and/or bridge making to a dental laboratory, based on your need.
Extraction & Grafting – If your teeth are diseased, you will need to have them extracted before the implant can be inserted. Additionally, if your jawbone is not healthy enough for the implant to adhere to, you may need bone grafting to create an adequate bone foundation for successful dental implant surgery. Remember not everybody needs extraction and grafting but if you do, the recovery process and the dental implants timeline maybe longer.
Generally speaking, if you need a bone graft, you may require several months between the grafting and the implant surgery. Depending on the complexity of work, recovery from extractions and bone graft procedures can take several days to several weeks. Follow the instructions provided by your dentist to ensure a quick recovery.
Dental Implants Surgery – The next step in the process is the installation of a dental implant anchor, made of titanium or other suitable metal, into the jawbone below the gumline.
The gum tissues are then secured over the implant and the implant is left to fuse with the jawbone – a process known as osseointegration. During this process, there may be some swelling and tenderness for a few days. Your dentist may prescribe pain medication, cold compresses, and a diet restricted to soft & cold foods to help you with the recovery process – more information on the implant surgery recovery process can be found below.
Placement of the Abutment – The next step involves the addition of an abutment, which is a post that connects the implants inserted in Step 1 to the replacement tooth (Step 3). After this procedure, the gum is allowed to heal. In case you choose a removable denture for aesthetic purposes, it can be placed over the gap caused by the missing tooth, until a permanent tooth is attached to the implant.
Placement of the Crown – Once the healing is complete, the third and final step involves the placement of the dental crown on the artificial post. This completes the dental implant procedure.
Dental Implants Recovery Process
Total recovery after a dental implant procedure varies from case to case. The recovery time could depend on factors such as the number of teeth involved, requirement for grafting, gum health, and patient history.
Generally speaking, single-tooth implant patients with healthy bones will experience minimal discomfort and will recover in no time. The more complex your procedure – the more the number of teeth extracted and implanted as well as the need for bone grafting to allow for implants – the longer the recovery.
Based on the complexity of the case, patients may experience swelling and even some discomfort post-surgery. However, they go away with proper care.
Whether your dental implant procedure was completed in one stage or multiple stages, the first 24 hours after dental surgery, you may experience swelling, bleeding, and some pain. Over-the-counter and prescription-strength medication may be used to effectively control the pain. Cold compresses and ice packs can help with the swelling.
After the initial 24 hours have passed, you can continue to take pain medication and ice packs the next few days, as needed.
One of the most important parts of the post-surgery recovery process is the diet. Patients are advised to opt for a soft diet immediately after the surgery. In case of basic dental implant placements, the patient may take from a week to 10 days to return to a normal diet. However, in some complicated cases, the patients are advised to stick to a soft diet for about six weeks after the procedure.
In addition, make sure you follow up with your dentist to ensure that you are healing properly.
While the recovery is generally smooth, there are several myths associated and this article will debunk them for you.
Myth 1: You won’t be able to brush your teeth for a week after a dental implant surgery
This is not true.
Fact: While it is very important that you avoid brushing the surgical site for the first 48 hours following the dental implant procedure, you should brush other teeth not involved in the surgery gently the same evening. You should be very careful and maintain good oral hygiene while recovering. This will involve rinsing regularly with a warm, salt water rinse, about four to five times a day, after meals.
Tip: The first 24 hours are very critical. Be careful to rinse with a warm saltwater solution and use a prescribed oral rinse. Take prescribed medications as directed.
Myth 2: You can get new teeth in a day and get back to routine right after
There’s a lot of overzealous advertising that makes people believe that they could get implants in a single session and they can get back to a normal routine right after.
Fact: In some instances, dental implants can be placed in a single sitting. Dentists can extract, implant, and place a temporary replacement tooth in the same setting. Advances in technology allow for the implants to be placed in such a way that they do not move at all during the healing process. This is absolutely critical for the implant procedure to be successful as the implant must integrate with the bone and even the slightest shift can lead to complications.
Same-day implant patients are strongly advised to comply with dietary recommendations for up to six weeks after surgery to avoid the movement of implants that can result in treatment failure.
Tip: If you are opting for same-day implants, eat soft foods and avoid crunchy and chewy foods, such as crusty bread, apples, ice cubes, carrots, steaks, and other chewy meats, during the osseointegration process.
Myth 3: Dental Implants recovery period is really long & painful
While the process of the implant fusing with the jawbone takes two to six months, the recovery period may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, based on the complexity of your case.
Fact: Multiple extractions and implantations along with bone grafting extend the recovery period. However, single tooth implants with no bone grafting can cut the recovery period to only a few days. Same-day implants, as stated above, can also extend the period of dietary restrictions.
As far as pain is concerned, technological advancements have made dental implants surgery into a minimally invasive procedure. Your Palo Alto dentist will perform the surgery under local anesthesia and provide you with pain medications to help you tide over the recovery process. In fact, most patients report that implant surgery is less painful than tooth extractions.
Tip: Follow post-surgery instructions from your dentist to expedite the recovery process. In particular, take your prescribed medications, follow dietary restrictions, watch out for any symptoms of infection, such as fever, and follow up with your dentist to ensure you are recovering as expected.
While we have debunked some common dental implants recovery myths for you, several assumptions and myths abound, especially those related to implant costs, success rate, and risks. So if you’re thinking about implants, keep in mind to associate with the best! Ask as many questions as you have, and get your doubts cleared, and don’t fall for assumptions.
Contact us if you’re looking for a good cosmetic dentist to get dental implants in Palo Alto.
Information in this article has been gathered from multiple public health sources, including: