Dental implants are a versatile solution that can restore the function and appearance of your smile. Their strength and durability come from being implanted and integrated into the jawbone, which requires dental implant surgery. Like any other oral surgery, some time is necessary for healing. However, you can follow these tips to improve your dental implant recovery.
Avoid Major Risk Factors
Dental implants are incredibly dependable, but issues can still arise during recovery. In general, dental implant success rates range from 96.7 to 99%, depending on the location in the mouth.1 However, certain risk factors can increase failure rates.
Smoking and other tobacco use are among the most important things to avoid for implant success. Smokers generally have more than double the implant failure rate of non-smokers.2 Smoking increases bacteria levels in your mouth, which leads to an increased risk of peri-implantitis (infection of the implant site). Smoking also decreases the health of your immune system and restricts the blood flow to the surgery site all negatively affecting the success of the implant surgery.
Alcohol consumption within the first 72 hours after dental implant placement is similarly discouraged. It can inflame and irritate the implant site, leading to an increased risk of infection. Peri-implantitis is a severe threat, so you must follow strict oral hygiene instructions during recovery to manage bacteria levels.
Eat Soft Foods
What you eat is also crucial during the healing process. You should eat soft foods for up to two weeks following your surgery to allow for sufficient recovery time. During the first few days, this should be restricted to foods that don’t require chewing, like yogurt or soup.
Excess motion during the initial stages of recovery can affect the implant site. You should also avoid hot or spicy foods that can irritate the gums while healing, leading to inflammation.
Managing Pain During Dental Implant Recovery
In general, dental implant recovery doesn’t require any prescription pain medication. While there may be some pain or soreness during the early stages of recovery, patients are generally okay with over-the-counter pain relief solutions. If pain increases beyond that point, you should reach your periodontist immediately.
At home, you can find relief with simple methods such as applying an ice pack to your cheek. You can hold the cold compress on the area troubling you for 20 minutes on and off as needed for the first 48 hours after surgery.
Your periodontist will give you post-op instructions for pain control. Make sure to follow them and reach out to your periodontist with any issues.
Other Factors that Could Affect Recovery
A variety of other factors can affect your recovery time after dental implants. In general, younger patients heal faster. Additionally, some medical conditions can impact the healing process, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and immune system disorders.
These pre-existing conditions will have been thoroughly considered during your treatment planning. Before proceeding with dental implants, ask your periodontist how any pre-existing conditions or other factors might affect your recovery.
Taking Care of Dental Implants After Recovery
After about two weeks, your initial recovery period will likely be complete. However, dental implants take longer to integrate completely. It will be several months until the titanium implants are fully bonded with the jawbone, but you should not experience any symptoms while this is occurring.
However, some care instructions remain to follow when living with dental implants. Proper oral hygiene is vital to avoid gum disease spreading to the implant site. Brushing, flossing, and teeth cleaning are all essential following dental implant placement. Avoid eating popcorn at all times. Pieces of popcorn can get stuck around your implant and cause implant failure.
Learn More About Dental Implant Surgery
Are you living with missing teeth? If so, dental implants could be the right treatment option for you. Schedule an appointment at Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester to discuss your options and learn more about the dental implant placement process. Or give us a call at 585-685-2005.