Dental implant surgery can be rather intensive, and your body will need time to heal. While serious post-surgery issues are rare, it’s still wise to closely monitor your oral health and take precautionary steps to reduce the risk of complications. We’ve outlined some tips below, but if you have further questions, you should reach out to our highly educated and experienced team.
The First Few Days
It is not uncommon to have pain or tenderness in the surgical site the following day after surgery. However, with the addition of Exparel (a non-opioid pain medication given at the end of appointments), patients are shocked at how little pain they felt the following days. Keeping the surgical site clean with the use of an extra soft bristle toothbrush as well as swishing with an antibacterial rinse will help keep the site free from bacteria and improve the healing process. It is best to avoid flossing around the area until the sutures are removed a week or so later.
If you have been prescribed antibiotics, make sure you take them as directed. You should also limit physical activity, resting up instead to let your body heal. You’ll want to avoid hard foods, smoking, and drinking alcohol, especially during the first few days. Popcorn and seeded fruits, which can produce debris, should also be avoided. Spicy food is also best skipped for the time being. Instead, eat soft foods, like yogurt and purées.
The Next Three to Six Months
Fully healing from dental implants typically takes four to six months. During this phase, your bone will be fused with the dental implants in a process called osseointegration. You can slowly start to introduce foods that require chewing, but it’s best to avoid anything that is especially taxing on the jaw, such as tough meat.
It’s also wise to skip straws. The suction created when using a straw can cause further irritation to your gums, jaw, and implants. You’ll want to limit spicy foods, anything that creates a lot of debris (e.g. popcorn), and other foods that might cause irritation. Keep in mind that every individual’s experience is different. For various reasons, your dentist may recommend a more strict or relaxed recovery routine.
Somewhere around 7 in 10 Americans feel insecure about their teeth and many turn to a dental implant to bolster their smile, according to the New York Post. It’s important for these folks to take dental implant recovery seriously. If you’d like to learn more about dental implants, feel free to contact Phillips & Schmitt at your convenience.