If you have missing or severely damaged teeth, dental implants can help restore your smile both cosmetically and functionally. Having dental implants placed is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that’s generally performed on an outpatient basis and supported by anesthesia to make sure you don’t experience any pain.
While recovering from oral surgery is usually pretty smooth, caring for the surgical site is essential to healing. This guide will cover what you should do after dental implant placement and how you can encourage your recovery.
How long does recovery take?
If you experience pain, swelling, or severe sensitivity after the first week, contact us so we can determine the cause.
What to do immediately after surgery?
Follow all aftercare instructions
Before your procedure, you’ll be provided with specific aftercare instructions to ensure you’re able to recover effectively and quickly. Your instructions and timeline will depend on your specific situation, the number of implants, your medical history, and more.
We’ll send you home with some gauze to apply to the area to manage the bleeding (which should stop in just a few hours). We may also instruct you to wash out the area with warm water or a specific oral rinse to avoid infection. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have and call our office if you have any concerns following surgery.
Like with most surgeries, it’s completely normal to be tired after getting dental implants, especially if you underwent sedation during the procedure. Make sure you have a family member or friend to drive you home on the day of your surgery. We also recommend you take a day or two off of work if possible.
Once you get home, be sure to get plenty of rest and avoid any strenuous activity for the next few days.
Take pain medication as instructed
Depending on your surgeon’s recommendation, you may be prescribed medication to manage pain or you may be instructed to use over-the-counter pain relief medications.
Use a cold compress to manage swelling
It’s likely that you’ll experience some degree of swelling around the jaw and on the surgical site itself. Applying ice or another cold compress to the outside of your cheek can help to reduce the swelling.
Just be sure to only use a compress intermittently. We recommended applying the compress for about 15 minutes on and off.
What to do during recovery
Protect the surgical site
Keeping the area around your new implant free of foreign bacteria and debris will help encourage healing and avoid infection. Resist the urge to touch the implant unnecessarily with your fingers, and practice good oral hygiene as the surgical site continues to fully heal.
Be very gentle while brushing and flossing
It’s always a good idea to brush and floss thoroughly but gently. But after dental implant placement, you’ll need to take special care around the surgical site. For the first couple of days following your procedure, continue to care for the rest of your teeth, but avoid brushing or flossing the implant site itself.
After a couple of days have passed, we recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently brush the front, sides, back, and top of the site. Avoid flossing the area for a week or so.
Avoid crunchy, chewy, or spicy foods
The last thing you want to do is cause an injury to the implant site during the healing process. That’s why we recommend you avoid foods that are especially crunchy, chewy, or spicy while your surgical site is healing. It’s also a good idea to avoid acidic foods and beverages to avoid stinging and discomfort.
Foods and drinks that are good options after oral surgery include:
- Tea (not too hot)
- Ice cream
- Soft fruits
- Well-cooked vegetables
- Soft cheeses
- Lots of water
Are dental implants difficult to care for long-term?
Contrary to some common misconceptions, dental implants are easy to care for. Once your implant and crown have been secured, you’ll be able to care for them just like you do your natural teeth. Practice daily oral care at home by brushing and flossing, and visit your dentist twice a year.
Visit our specialists to learn more about how to care for dental implants after surgery
At Smart Arches, we provide high-quality dental implants to patients from all walks of life. As implant specialists, we have extensive knowledge and experience to help you achieve a healthy and attractive smile.
Whether you need one dental implant or a total smile reconstruction, our compassionate, highly-trained team is here to help!