A dental implant is a biocompatible titanium post that is implanted into the jawbone and over 3 to 6 months, fuses with the jawbone to form an artificial tooth root. Then, an abutment and dental crown are attached to complete the restoration.
This results in a long-term tooth replacement that doesn’t move when you speak or eat and prevents bone loss. Read on in this blog from Sutter Dental Collective in SF to find out what the healing process is like following the placement of dental implants.
Some minor bleeding, swelling, and tenderness will occur in the first few days after your oral surgery. After implant placement, the dentist will place dampened gauze at the implant site to stop the bleeding and you will be instructed to bite down on these for 30 to 60 minutes.
After this point, the bleeding should significantly decrease but may still continue for the next 2 days. Continue to change the gauze before they become soaked with blood and if bleeding is persistent, you can try using a wet caffeinated tea bag instead.
Bleeding should mostly stop after the first day and can slightly ooze up to 72 hours post-implant surgery. Severe bleeding is not normal and bleeding that continues longer than 72 hours is a dental emergency.
Take anti-inflammatory pain medication to relieve feelings of tenderness and discomfort which may continue for the first few days. Swelling will peak 2-3 years after implant surgery and to reduce this you should keep your head elevated and apply a cold pack to the area for about 15 minutes at a time.
After receiving dental implants, you will not be able to eat any hard or excessively chewy foods for a couple of weeks. You want to avoid chewing as much as possible in the first 48 hours which is why you will eat a mostly liquid diet for the first few days.
Broths, warm soup (not too hot), protein shakes without a straw, pudding, and mashed potatoes are acceptable. After this, you can eat soft but slightly chewy foods like pasta, oatmeal, bread, and rice for the first week.
Depending on how fast you are healing, you may be able to introduce slightly chewier foods after the first week such as tougher meats and vegetables. Stay away from hard and sticky foods like popcorn, candy, chips, nuts, and seeds for the first few weeks because these can disturb the implant site. When you eat, chew on the opposite side of your mouth, away from the implant.
In the first 24 hours, you will need to be extra careful around the implant site and will need to avoid many things that can cause irritation or increase bleeding. You need to avoid alcohol, smoking, drinking out of straws, spitting, vigorously rinsing your mouth, exercising, and any kind of strenuous activity.
Most of these activities can be resumed after the first 24 hours except for smoking which should be completely avoided during your recovery and strenuous activity which should be avoided for the first 3 days. Directly following surgery, you should go home and rest for the rest of the day.
After the first 24 hours, you should rinse your mouth a few times a day with a lukewarm saltwater solution. This reduces swelling and pain while removing food particles and bacteria from the implant site. Brush and floss the rest of your teeth like normal but don’t disturb the implant site. This is why you are using a saltwater solution to keep the socket clean.
By following these aftercare guidelines, you will reduce your risk of infection and implant failure. If you’re interested in dental implants, contact us at Sutter Dental Collective in 450 Sutter to schedule a consultation with Dr. Joyce Stein and find out if you’re a good candidate.