Knowing the dental implant healing stages and what to anticipate is essential if you are considering getting implants. Let’s explore each step in detail so that you can be well-prepared for your recovery process.
Deciding to get dental implants is a big choice for those seeking an alternative tooth replacement option. Not only do they provide superior oral health, but also more natural-looking teeth. Before you jump into making this decision, make sure you check out our post on the stages of healing after getting dental implants —it’s essential reading!
What are dental implants?
If you’re looking to replace missing teeth, dental implants offer a reliable and effective solution. Constructed from titanium, these prosthetics serve as an anchor for replacement teeth which are then fit over the top. Unlike crowns that require the support of a tooth root, implants actually substitute the root!
Dental implants are a long-term solution to restore your oral health. Unlike any other modern option, they provide the closest possible replacement for natural teeth and allow you to chew, speak and eat with ease again. With dental implants, science has enabled us to bring back that feeling of having real teeth once more!
The dental implant process
Before diving into the stages of healing, let us initially examine what is involved in dental implant surgery. The phases associated with surgically placing the implants are critically important when it comes to estimating how long a patient takes to recover.
Before undergoing a dental implant procedure, it is essential for the dentist to have an understanding of your oral anatomy. That’s why when you visit a clinic for consultation on implants, the dentist will take X-rays of your teeth and jaw; this helps them plan ahead so that they can perform the best surgery possible.
Your dentist will consider if dental implants are the most appropriate treatment for you. In cases where they are not suitable, another option may be suggested. Some patients need just one implant; however, in some cases, several might be recommended by your dentist. Factors such as cost, the time needed and the healing period differ depending on how many implants you require -if it’s only one, there is less time involved as compared to when multiple implants have to be inserted.
To create a dental cast, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and mouth. These moulds are then sent to the lab for craftsmanship in creating custom-made crowns for implants. Additionally, ahead of surgery, the dentist will review your oral health history to guarantee eligibility, such as potentially recommending a thorough cleaning if plaque or tartar is present on the teeth prior to implantation.
Patients with missing adult teeth may not require extractions before implant surgery, but those affected by severely decayed, infected or damaged teeth will need the assistance of their dental surgeon to remove these unhealthy teeth and cleanse the area where they’ll be installing an artificial one.
When performing dental implant surgery, the dental surgeon must assess that sufficient bone height and width are present in order to place the implant.
In cases where not enough healthy bone tissue exists within the jaw, a bone graft procedure will be necessary. This process entails taking healthy bones from another part of your body and transplanting them into the area surrounding your future dental implants.
Dental implant placement
When your oral health is in perfect condition, and dentists have confirmed that the jawbone strength is suitable for implant surgery, then the procedure can proceed. Implant surgery consists of securely affixing titanium dental screws in your jawbone, where eventual crowns will be placed.
After the dental implants are secured in place, the next step involves the placement of abutments and then a crown. The entire process may take anywhere from 3 to 8 months.
Dental implant recovery and healing
The recovery time of a patient is contingent on a variety of elements, including their age (while not necessarily obstructive, still has an impact), overall health and medical background, smoking habits, and the dental implant material chosen. Though it’s common to feel mild distress or soreness following surgery for up to two weeks afterwards – which can be regulated by taking painkillers – most patients report feeling much better during this period.
To safeguard against dental infection and render dental healing, it is imperative to take a prescribed antibiotic for no less than two weeks following your implant surgery. Your dentist will also provide specific oral hygiene instructions during the recovery period of your implants. At this time, you may be advised to use an antibacterial mouthwash or saltwater rinse daily, as well as abstain from activities such as chewing on one side of your mouth, smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol until complete healing has been achieved.
It is essential to adhere to your dentist’s guidance throughout the recovery periods of dental implant surgery in order for a successful outcome. If you fail to do this, there may be significant consequences. Tobacco smoke near open wounds has been linked with a hampered healing process and other complications -so it is important that you are aware of these potential risks!
Dental implant healing stages
Generally speaking, the period of recuperation following dental treatments ranges between 10 days and 6 weeks. However, this duration is not set in stone; it could be shortened or lengthened depending on particular factors like
- The number of teeth that were extracted and replaced (a single tooth, several or an entire arch)
- Your underlying bone structure’s health condition
- Age and the general state of well-being can affect mending periods.
In spite of the fact that every patient experiences recuperation differently, most will go through these 4 stages:
Stage 1 – Post-surgery
Following your dental implant surgery, it’s important to take some time for yourself and relax. Avoid strenuous activities such as exercise, smoking or eating hard foods on the side where you underwent the procedure. Similarly, don’t bite into any food near that area either so that recovery goes smoothly. Sip water slowly through a straw if possible -this will help with swelling and discomfort in the affected region, which is typical in most cases and can last up to one week after treatment.
If you’re in pain, make sure to take the prescribed medication as instructed. To get extra relief, a saltwater solution or antibacterial mouthwash should be used as per your dentist’s instructions.
Stage 2 – Soft tissue healing
Generally, this phase will persist for around a fortnight and is identified by inflammation and puffiness in the implant site. For certain individuals, it may take up to six weeks before the swelling dissipates entirely.
Your soft tissue requires time to heal properly so that you can experience maximum benefit from your dental implants.
Stage 3 – Adjusting and bone healing
The timeline for recovering from dental implant surgery and allowing your bones to fully heal varies, depending on the individual’s oral health and age. This recovery period usually lasts anywhere between a few weeks to several months.
During this stage, you should limit physical activity. Step by step, begin to resume your usual activities but take care not to overexert yourself. In addition, drink plenty of fluids and maintain a balanced diet for optimum oral health.
When it comes to brushing your teeth and other dental implants such as crowns or bridges, proceed with caution; vigorous scrubbing can lead to soreness or delays in healing time, while gentle flushing with saltwater together with antibacterial mouthwashes is the ideal way to clean them along with utilising a very soft-bristled toothbrush solely on the crown itself.
Stage 4 – Maintenance
After your dental implant has completely healed, you must schedule regular checkups with your dentist to ensure its longevity. Just like with natural teeth, it is essential that you brush and floss regularly in addition to visiting the dentist every six months for a cleaning.
Understanding what happens during the healing stages of getting implants can help guarantee positive results; by following all of your oral health professional’s guidance carefully, you can be assured that recovery will be smooth sailing!
If you feel excessive pain, increased bleeding, swelling that is getting worse or troubled breathing, please see your dentist immediately.
To get a more clear understanding and professional advice on dental implants, book an appointment with our friendly dentist at Available Dental Care by calling on (02) 4062 8763. Dr Shaun Lajevardi has helped his patients with hundreds of amazing dental restorations and will be happy to join forces with you in your dental implant journey!
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Everything to know about a dental implant procedure