In the United States, 69% of adults between the ages of 35 to 44 have lost at least one of their permanent teeth. Often, this tooth loss is due to cavities and periodontal diseases. Luckily, if you have dealt with tooth loss, you can get dental implants and other treatments to replace your missing tooth.
Do you want to learn more about dental implant surgery recovery and how you can improve your care after getting a dental implant?
Keep reading this dental implant guide for the top recovery and care tips to follow after your oral surgery.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
When you get a dental implant, you may want to learn more about the total time necessary to recover from your surgery. What are dental implants? They are small posts that are often made of titanium that act as an artificial root for your new teeth.
They are a permanent fixture that you can attach a crown to as a replacement for your missing teeth. Because it is such an involved restorative dentistry procedure, dental implant recovery can take several weeks.
Many factors will impact how long your dental implant recovery takes. For example, if you have to replace multiple teeth in your mouth, this can greatly increase the time needed to heal.
Recovery time will also depend on the location of your implants, your hygiene habits, and the health of the bone structure in your mouth.
What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
To prepare for dental implant recovery, you must understand what to expect. Because dental implant surgeries are so involved, you will typically be put under anesthesia. It can take a few hours for you to come completely out of your sedated state, but then you can finish your recovery at home.
You can expect to feel a bit of pain in your mouth within the first day or two after your surgery. Your mouth also may start to swell at the site of your dental implant. This pain and swelling can be improved with an ice pack or anti-inflammatory medication.
The stitches in your mouth from your dental implant surgery should dissolve on their own. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. After the stitches are gone, you should begin to feel back to normal.
Tips to Improve Recovery
Dental implant recovery can be painful and uncomfortable, especially if you don't know how to properly care for your mouth. There are many tips you can follow that will help speed up your recovery and prevent infection in your mouth.
Here are some of the top things you can do to improve your recovery after getting a dental implant.
Rest is one of the most important things you can do to improve your recovery process after dental implant surgery. Getting enough rest will help your body heal itself, especially after getting surgery.
There are some activities that you need to avoid after surgery because they will wear out and slow down your recovery. Make sure you listen to your body and don't overdo it with strenuous exercises.
Similarly, you need to avoid exercises that can increase your likelihood of complications after your surgery. For example, sports that may increase your chance of getting hit in the face may damage your surgical site and slow down your recovery.
Eat the Right Foods
Next, you need to eat the right foods during your recovery. Even though your dental implant will act as a replacement tooth, you will not be able to use it normally for several days or weeks.
Because of this, your dentist will recommend that you only eat soft foods during the weeks following your dental implant surgery. These soft foods include soups, smoothies, and pureed foods. Each of these foods will not require chewing or jaw movement, which can irritate your surgical site and incision.
You should also avoid other foods that can irritate your healing gums, like hot or spicy foods, crunchy foods, and more.
While you must eat soft foods, you also need to make sure these foods are nutritious. Giving your body the right foods after your implant surgery will help you heal faster.
Stay Hydrated and Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Not only do you need to find nutritious foods to eat, but you also need to stay hydrated after your dental implant surgery. Proper hydration helps your body flush out toxins and will keep you energized as you recover.
Drinking plenty of water will also help you keep your mouth clean and free of debris that might get stuck in your incision site.
To stay hydrated, you should also avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol. Both of these liquids are known to dehydrate your body and can cause other problems during your recovery process. Often, your dentist will recommend that you avoid these drinks for a few weeks after your surgery.
Following your dental implant surgery, you must also avoid using straws when you are drinking. Instead, you must drink directly from a glass.
This is because sucking from a straw requires a lot of force and can cause problems with your healing surgical site. For example, it can dislodge a blood clot which will lead to more bleeding in your mouth.
It can also damage your stitches. To help speed up your healing, you should avoid using a straw for at least two weeks after your dental implant surgery.
Use Ice Packs
As was mentioned before, you may experience pain and swelling after your dental implant surgery. One thing you can do to help your body heal and naturally lower your pain and inflammation is using ice packs.
Using an ice pack will provide nearly instant pain relief after your dental implant surgery and will help you lower the swelling to begin healing.
However, ice packs can be too cold and can damage your skin. To protect yourself, make sure you never apply the ice pack directly to your skin. Instead, wrap it in a towel and only use it for about 30 minutes at a time.
This will help you heal faster and can also reduce the risk of developing an ice burn.
Rinse With Salt Water
After any type of oral surgery, there is a chance that your mouth can develop an infection. If you experience a serious infection after your dental implant surgery, it can lead to an abscess and may even cause your implant to fail.
Rinsing your mouth with salt water is an easy way to lower the number of bacteria in your mouth while soothing your surgical site.
You can make your own salt water rinse at home by adding a teaspoon of salt into a cup of water. Then, swish your salt water mixture gently throughout your mouth for about 30 seconds. Make sure you don't swish too vigorously, as this can irritate your healing incisions and may even damage the area.
You can do a salt water rinse a few times a day for the best results. Still, it is best to talk with your dentist to get more specific instructions and tips for your salt water rinses.
Use Good Oral Hygiene
Finally, you need to use good oral hygiene if you want to improve your healing after a dental implant surgery. Even though dental implants are not the same as your natural teeth, you still need to use the right oral hygiene to protect them.
Keeping up your oral hygiene routine will help you avoid bacteria buildup in your mouth and will help speed up the recovery. Keeping your mouth as clean as possible will reduce the risk of developing an infection as well.
Still, it is important to note that your oral hygiene routine may differ during the different stages of your recovery. For example, you should avoid brushing the surgical site with your toothbrush, as this may interfere with the healing and cause problems with the stitches.
If you need help learning more about the right oral hygiene routine to follow after your surgery, your dental implant clinic can help.
Learn More About Dental Implant Surgery Recovery Today
When you get dental implants, you must take the necessary precautions to help your mouth recover effectively. By following each of these dental implant surgery recovery tips, your mouth will heal faster and more effectively after your surgery!
Do you want to learn more about dental implant recovery and other types of restorative dentistry? Smiles on Randolph can help! We offer restorative dental services and can help you through the entire recovery process after a dental implant.
Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment!