Dental implant surgery is no joke. Not that anyone would expect it to be. But it’s just like any other type of surgery — it requires a recovery period.
After getting a one or multiple dental implants inserted, the recovery is conveniently short. However, the recovery time may vary depending on how the procedure went, how well you take care of yourself afterward, and how your body reacts to the implant.
We’ll cover all of that and more below.
Dental Implant Recovery Time
But what is the general recovery time after dental implant surgery?
Typically, it will take 5-7 days for all the symptoms to subside. However, some patients may experience a longer recovery time due to some different factors.
Here are some of the reasons why your recovery time may vary.
How Many Implants You Get
Depending on whether you get a single implant, multiple implants, or an All-On-4 implants, your recovery time can vary. Basically, the more implants mean a longer and more involved surgery, which means a bit longer of a recovery time.
Recovery from a sinus lift dental implant can vary as well. A sinus lift (or a sinus augmentation) can also lengthen your recovery time. This is a surgery that adds bone to your upper jaw by your molars and premolars. The dentist will have to move the sinus membrane upward (or be lifted) in order for the additional bone to fit.
Bone grafting is required when your jawbone is not thick enough to secure an implant. When you chew, it puts a lot of pressure on the bone and it needs to be as strong as possible.
If you need a bone graft, your dentist will take bone from somewhere else in your body (like your hip) and transplant it into your jawbone. They can also use artificial bone.
In either case, it can take several months for the healing process to take place. But if minimal bone grafting is needed, it may not take that long.
Osseointegration is the process of a dental implant integrating with your jawbone. This takes time to happen successfully — and it may be different for each patient — so it may add to the recovery time.
Dental Implant Surgery Recovery
Now that we’ve covered the recovery time, let’s go over what the recovery process will look like, what you can do to help make it successful, and how to even speed it up.
What To Expect On The First Day
The first hour after surgery, you’ll want to keep firm but gentle pressure on the gauze packs with your bite. This will keep them in place.
Don’t change out the gauze until after the first hour, unless you have persistent bleeding. If you do need to change them, put the new gauze in place for 30 minutes. After that, you should be changing the gauze every 30 to 45 minutes.
Some symptoms you may experience in the first day include:
- Persistent bleeding
These are all expected signs that your body is healing itself.
To help make your recovery speedier and the pain minimal, here are some dental implant recovery tips you should follow:
- Be careful not to disturb the surgical areas
- Brush your teeth the night of surgery with a gentle toothbrush
- After 24 hours, gently rinse with salt water 2-3 times a day
- Rest as much as possible
- Apply ice if needed
On the second and third days after surgery, your body will continue to heal itself, but you should continue to take care of your mouth to help the process along.
You may notice a greenish-yellowish discoloration or bruising around the surgical areas, but this is normal and should only last for 2-3 days after the surgery. After that, you can apply moist heat to the area to decrease the discoloration.
If you happen to feel a sharp protrusion or a edge of your tooth, this is also common. If it concerns you, feel free to contact your dentist.
You may also experience dry lips, a sore throat, and stiff jaw muscles, all expected signs of having gauze in your mouth. All of these things should go away after about 2-3 days.
Here are some general instructions for how to care for you implants in the days following the procedure to help your recovery time:
- Rinse your mouth with salt water, taking five minutes to use up an entire 8-ounce glass. You can do this as often as you’d like, at least twice a day.
- Gently brush your teeth as you normally would as soon as you can after the procedure. Because you may have soreness and swelling, you may not be able to (or want to) brush with regular vigor. But it’s important to have great oral hygiene during this recovery time.
Another thing you should consider during recovery is altering your diet, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
Dental Implant Recovery Diet
It’s a smart idea to consider temporarily changing your diet to help your mouth heal quickly and properly. It doesn’t sound fun, but it can greatly help.
The best thing you can do regarding your diet is to avoid direct contact with the implant for as long as possible. This means no hard foods until the area is fully healed.
Foods You Should (And Shouldn’t) Eat After Surgery
Generally speaking, you should eat mostly soft foods, alternating which side of your mouth you’re chewing on.
Here are some ideas of foods that are good to eat following surgery:
- Baked beans
- Fish (don’t use citrus)
- Healthy juice or smoothies
On the flip side, there are plenty of foods to avoid right after surgery:
- Hard foods, like chips, nuts, or apples
- Acidic foods, like tomatoes, lemons, limes, orange juice
- Spicy foods as they may cause discomfort
Now that you’ve read this article, you know what to expect after your dental implant surgery, the expected recovery time, potential symptoms, and what you can do to make the whole process easier.
Along with your doctor’s recommendations, you should be ready for whatever dental procedure you need.