Dental implants represent the best method for securing crowns, bridges, and dentures. When these small titanium posts are surgically embedded in the jaw, they integrate with the bone, becoming part of the natural anatomy. With one of the highest success rates of any implant surgery, dental implants restore oral health and function for decades.

Although the procedural success rate is high, dental implant placement is a surgical procedure with a recovery period. To expedite your recovery, it is important that patients follow their post-operative instructions.

At Advanced Dental Center in Plano, TX, Dr. Christine Hopkins explains the dental implant surgery recovery process so patients can feel confident going into their procedure.

The First 24 Hours after Surgery

Since you will be unable to drive yourself, you must arrange to have someone drive you home from your surgical appointment. We suggest you have a loved one or friend at the house to help out with chores for a day or two. This will help you focus on resting and recuperation.

Immediately following your procedure, a gauze pack is placed over the surgical sites. This should not be changed until bleeding is under control. The gauze may then be changed every 30 to 45 minutes for the first 24 hours after surgery.

Patients should not rinse or spit, or put any kind of pressure on the surgical sites the first couple of days after surgery.

It is also recommended that patients switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and apply gentle pressure.

The Week of Surgery

After 24 hours has passed, you may begin using any oral rinse that your doctor has prescribed to you.

You can also use a warm saltwater rinse, which helps to dislodge food particles. Gargling with warm salt water is also soothing and has antiseptic properties.

Oral rinses are recommended after each meal, before careful and gentle brushing.

In addition to oral rinses, patients should take all medications exactly as prescribed for the full duration of treatment. This includes your antibiotics that will prevent infection at the surgical sites.

Pain is generally managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Swelling can be reduced by applying an ice pack to the side of your face for about 15 minutes at a time.

For the first few days, patients should limit their diet to soft foods. A normal diet may be resumed when your mouth has healed sufficiently, or when you are cleared by your doctor. Staying away from hard or crunchy foods, which can irritate the tender surgical area, will keep you comfortable.

Additionally, strenuous activity should be avoided for about a week after surgery, or until your doctor says it’s okay. Smoking should be avoided until at least a month after the procedure. Smokers are encouraged to take the opportunity to quit altogether, as smoking promotes gum disease, a complication that could cause your implants to fail.

Making a Full Recovery

Patients are considered to be fully recovered when a process called osseointegration is complete. This is when the bone and titanium implant fuse together. It generally takes between four and six months.

Once you are recovered, an abutment is attached to the implant, and later the restoration affixed to the abutment.

Learn More about the Recovery Process

Learn what you can expect of the dental implant process, including recovery, by making your consulation today. Give us a call at (972) 597-0471, or use our online form.