By Rafael Mercado, DDS on June 25, 2019
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, an estimated 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth; around 40 million are missing of their teeth. That could explain why more patients are considering dental implants than ever before. These artificial tooth roots can support individual crowns, a bridge, or a full denture, restoring the health and beauty of a smile.
When patients meet with Dr. Rafael Mercado at his Castle Hills, TX dental practice, he takes time to explain the implant dentistry treatment from beginning to end. That includes the recovery process, which we’ll provide a brief overview of right now.
What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
Immediately following dental implant surgery, patients can expect a certain amount of discomfort and grogginess. This is the result of the anesthetic and sedation wearing off. Patients should get help from a loved one to return home and avoid all strenuous physical activity.
It’s important that patients focus on rest for the next few days, which means avoiding involved exercise routines and any sort of activities that could lead to stress or exhaustion. They can resume these activities when approved by their dentist or oral surgeon.
Taking Time Off from Work
Some patients may be required to take time off from work after dental implant surgery.
For people with desk jobs or jobs that aren’t physically demanding, you may only need a day off; some patients in that situation may even be able to return to work the day after dental implant surgery. People who work in construction, sports, or other kinds of professions may require two days or more off from work.
During the consultation process here at Castle Hills Family Dental, we will be sure to go over any time off you’ll need from your job.
Side Effects During the First Two Weeks
In the first two weeks after getting dental implants placed, patients will experience the most pronounced post-op side effects. This includes pain, swelling, and bruising. These side effects are temporary and patients should notice improvements with each passing day.
To address soreness after implant dentistry, patients should take prescription pain killers as directed. Over-the-counter pain medications can be used once the most significant soreness has passed. For swelling, patients can apply a cold compress to their face for 20 minutes and then leave it off for 20 minutes, repeating the pattern as needed.
Adjusting Your Diet for the First Several Weeks
To avoid serious discomfort after getting dental implants, patients should adjust their diets temporarily for the next several weeks. This means eating soft or liquid foods and avoiding any crispy, crunchy, or tough/chewy foods. Any foods with crumbs or tiny seeds should also be avoided.
It’s important for patients to avoid using drinking straws in the early weeks after getting dental implants. The suction can affect clots and sutures placed after getting dental implants.
The Process of Osseointegration
Over the course of the next few months, a process known as osseointegration must take place. Osseointegration involves the fusion between the dental implants and your existing jawbone and gum tissue. Only when osseointegration is complete will the dental implants be ready to support a crown, bridge, or denture.
How Long Does Full Recovery and Treatment Take?
Full recovery will take several months up to a year, though it could take even longer, particularly if bone grafting or gum grafting is required. We can discuss your overall treatment times in more detail during your consultation at our practice.
Learn More About Family Dentistry
For more information about implant dentistry and why it may be the right option for you and your needs, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist. The team at Castle Hills Family Dental is here to help. You can reach us by phone at (210) 405-1257.