Dental implants are the go-to solution for people wanting permanent teeth replacements that mimic the appearance and functionality of natural teeth. Placing an implant initially involves some discomfort and a recovery period following the minor surgical procedure. The length of recovery will vary from person to person but to make it easy and quick you´ll have to look after yourself and take care of your mouth.
Before we look at some post-dental implant recovery tips it is worth pointing out that you may experience the following symptoms post-surgery. These are not complications, nor do they mean something is wrong. They are the consequences of having a surgical procedure. Most of these symptoms will resolve themselves with rest and by keeping the mouth clean.
The recovery process doesn´t simply happen overnight, so here is a handful of essential tips to ensure your mouth should heal as it should.
Take it easy. Following your surgery, put your feet up to get some rest. If you have received a sedative, you may feel drowsy and therefore shouldn´t do anything where you need to concentrate, such as driving. Don´t lift anything heavy or perform any strenuous activity. Select a few films or a good book and relax on the sofa.
Even as you start to feel better in the proceeding days, don´t be in a rush to get back into the full swing of things. Avoid activities that could lead to complications. When it is time to retire for the night, elevate your head with an extra pillow or two.
Take your medication. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to eliminate any potentially harmful germs that could cause an infection. They may also prescribe pain relief medication. Take all therapeutics as prescribed.
Follow instructions. Your dental implant surgeon is an expert and has seen hundreds if not thousands of patients, so they know what they´re talking about. Therefore, follow their post-operative instructions to the letter.
Continue with regular oral health practices. Your mouth may be sore and tender following surgery, but after 24 hours, you should be able to continue with your regular brushing and flossing routine. That being said, you may have to avoid any tender areas for a little bit longer. Your dentist will be able to advise you.
Avoid smoking at all costs. Smoking interferes with the body´s healing processes and raises the risk of infection in the mouth, which can dramatically slow recovery time. Alcohol can also impede the healing process.
Eat soft foods. Stick to soft and nutritious foods that require minimal chewing for the first few days after surgery. Smoothies are an excellent way to get some nutritional goodness. Other soft foods to consider include lukewarm soup, yogurt and instant oatmeal. Avoid foods that are too hot, hard or chewy. These include steaks, apples, crispy bread and hard taco shells.
Rinse your mouth with saltwater. Do this for a few days post-surgery to help disinfect the implant site.
Use a cold compress. To reduce swelling, apply a cold compress to the swollen area for 15 minutes, remove it for 15 minutes then repeat the process. If both sides of your mouth have had surgery, apply the compress to each side, switching from one to the other.
Be mindful of the blood clot. Eventually, a blood clot will form at the site of the implant surgery. Be careful not to dislodge it by brushing teeth vigorously or using straws.
Be vigilant: Keep an eye out for fever, infection or swelling that lasts for more than a couple of days. Contact your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
Every patient is different, so it is not possible to say how long your recovery will take. However, the more implants that were placed, the longer the recovery process is likely to be. Other factors that can impact recovery time are the quality of oral hygiene, whether bone grafting was needed and smoking habits.
To find out more about dental implants and how you can recover well from implant surgery, contact the friendly, knowledgeable and expert team at Chesterfield Dentistry. Schedule a free consultation by calling us on (314) 682-4587 or using our online booking form.