The success of a dental implant requires the completion of a natural recovery process. The leading reason why dental implants are so preferred and effective is the presence of a metal post that is surgically implanted below the gum surface. As the post (implant) heals and fuses to the surrounding bone, it forms a valuable new root system for your prosthetic tooth or teeth.
The implant healing process involves osseointegration, which takes place over the course of several months after your dental implant surgery. While you won’t feel like you are in recovery for several months, you will need to take actions to facilitate the healing that is still going on underneath your gums. The first few weeks after implant surgery are especially important, as you’ll want to protect the implant from moving.
Want to speed your recovery after implant surgery? Follow these precautionary steps:
- Be Generous with Rest. Getting plenty of sleep and rest is critical for any type of recovery process in your body. Your oral tissues need the downtime to heal and recover from the trauma of surgery. Therefore, take the extra time off work, turn on Netflix and relax the best you can for the first few days after you implant surgery.
- Stop the Bleeding. It is normal for your gums to bleed during the first 24 hours after surgery. However, it should never be heavy or uncontrollable. To stop the bleeding, use gauze or apply a moist tea bag to the affected area.
- Keep an Ice Pack Handy. A cold compress or soft ice pack can be used on your cheek or face after surgery. This will reduce the swelling and help you feel more comfortable. Only ice for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Stick to a Soft-Foods Diet. This is important. Avoid any foods that are hard or have loose crumbs that could get lodged within your surgical site. Choose soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup (not too hot) and steamed veggies. Your dentist will progress you to harder foods based on how your gums are healing at your follow-up appointment.
- Take Medication. Most patients are prescribed pain medication that should be taken as directed. You may also manage the pain with OTC pain relievers. In either case, don’t be afraid to take medicine the first couple days after your procedure to minimize the discomfort and tenderness.
- Limit Your Activity. Be careful not to rush back to vigorous activity too soon. When you are cleared to return to work and normal life, you may still need to stay away from contact sports, running and other strenuous activities.
- Follow the rules for NO SMOKING. Last but not least, do not return to or begin smoking after your implant surgery. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and considered a major threat to your implant healing and success!
Have additional concerns about recovering from dental implant surgery? Not sure if your implants are healing properly? We are here to answer your questions at the office of Dr. Wayne Suway. Remember that while the recovery may disrupt your day-to-day routine, this is a very temporary setback for the life-long return of a healthy and confident smile.