A dental implant is a permanent artificial tooth that looks and functions just like your natural teeth. It’s a great option for people who are missing one or more teeth — but if you’re considering this dental procedure, which requires surgery, it’s normal to have questions.
Our team at Your Community Smile, led by Narjes Abtahi, DDS, specializes in dental implant procedures and carefully explains what to expect. Here’s what you need to know about recovery in the week after you get your dental implant.
Dental implants require oral surgery. Dr. Abtahi and our team numb your mouth and then make an incision through your gums to your jawbone. We insert the implant into your jaw and close the incision.
You’re free to go home shortly after your procedure and before you leave our office, we give you post-surgery instructions. It’s important to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes after your procedure to allow the anesthesia to wear off. You should also plan to avoid smoking for at least the first week.
Some pain and discomfort is normal immediately after your dental implant procedure. You might also notice swelling and bruising around the implant site.
Dr. Abtahi may prescribe pain medication to help keep you comfortable as you start to heal. We also recommend using an ice pack for about 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling. Don’t put the ice pack directly on the implant site. Instead, wrap it in a soft towel and place it on your cheek or jaw.
In the next few days, expect the pain and swelling to continue. Keep using an ice pack intermittently to reduce swelling, and consider taking over-the-counter pain medication if Dr. Abtahi recommends it.
You should plan to eat a soft-food diet during this time to avoid putting too much pressure on your new implant. Foods like soup, yogurt, and scrambled eggs are good options. Avoid alcohol because it can interfere with your body’s healing process.
Along with these temporary dietary changes, you should also avoid using straws. Sucking through a straw creates a suction that can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the socket, which can be painful and will slow your healing.
By this point, you should start feeling more comfortable. Pain and swelling should begin subsiding, although you may still have some bruising.
You can gradually start to reintroduce solid foods into your diet under Dr. Abtahi’s supervision. Be sure to chew slowly and carefully, and avoid putting too much stress on your implant. Continue avoiding alcohol and smoking — both impair the healing process.
As your mouth heals, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Follow our instructions for cleaning your new implant, and be gentle around it.
Be prepared to pay close attention to your body during your recovery process. While some pain and discomfort are normal, certain symptoms might indicate an infection or other problem.
Contact us right away if you experience:
Any of the above symptoms could mean you have an infection that requires prompt care.
Your implant site fully heals in the next few months. Be sure to follow our instructions and attend any follow-up appointments you have with our team.
Once your implant has fused to the jawbone and the site has fully healed, you return to the office to receive your crown. Dr. Abtahi fits this custom prosthetic tooth onto the end of your implant, and it completes your smile.
Getting dental implants is a popular and effective treatment for missing teeth, but it’s a surgical procedure that requires a recovery period. To find out more about caring for your health after dental implants, contact Your Community Smile in Lansdowne, Virginia. Call us at 703-565-2667 or schedule an appointment online.