Adults in the U.S. between the ages of 20 to 64, have an average of 25.5 remaining teeth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. And the longer you wait to replace missing teeth, the greater your risk of getting gum disease, not to mention the risk of your adjacent teeth shifting in your mouth. For many years, dentures were the solution for people who wanted to restore their smiles. But today, while dentures remain a great option for many patients, dental implants and bridges have joined the ranks as leading tooth replacement options. So if you’re looking for a tooth implant dentist in Granite City to help you reclaim your smile and have questions about dental implant recovery, we’ve got the answers.

Getting implants? Here’s what to expect during your dental implant recovery.

First, if you have decided to get dental implants, congratulations on making such an important and exciting decision about your oral health. Not only do dental implants have a success rate of 95%, but they are also well-known as the tooth replacement option that looks, feels, and functions just like your natural teeth. Patients often seek dental implants for the following reasons:

  • Replace a tooth lost by an accident or dental trauma
  • To replace teeth that are severely decayed teeth and need to be extracted
  • To improve a smile
  • As a more permanent and comfortable solution than dentures

And getting implants can help prevent jawbone loss, help you maintain your appearance, help you speak and chew properly, and prevent your remaining teeth from shifting. Dental implant surgery is invasive, and recovery will take a few weeks to months. Read on to understand what to expect during your dental implant recovery.

The dental implant process can take about five to eight months.

While implants take longer than other tooth replacement options, it’s for good reason. The entire process involves multiple steps, and healing is often required before moving on to the next phase of treatment.

Here are the phases of the procedure:

  • Initial consultation and examination to determine eligibility and treatment plan
  • Preparatory procedures, such as bone grafting or tooth extraction, if necessary
  • Placement of the implant fixture, a small titanium post, into the jawbone through a surgical procedure
  • Osseointegration, the implant fusing with the jawbone, can take several months
  • Placement of the abutment, a connector piece, on top of the implant fixture once osseointegration is complete
  • Placement of the final restoration, such as a crown, bridge, or denture, onto the abutment to replace the missing tooth, or teeth

Of course, we know the burning question; how long does a dental implant take to heal? The time it takes for a dental implant to heal can vary from person to person and can depend on a variety of factors, such as your age, overall health, and the location of the implant in your mouth. In general, it typically takes several months for a dental implant to fully heal and fuse with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. This process can take anywhere from three to six months, or even longer in some cases.

Here’s what you should know going into the process and what you can expect during recovery.

  • Schedule your implant surgery midweek, so you have a few days to rest and recover before returning to work.
  • Wait at least one hour after surgery to eat, and stick to soft foods for the first 24 hours. We recommend yogurt, pudding, ice cream, smoothies, applesauce, mashed potatoes, creamy soups and broth, and other soft/liquid foods.
  • Gradually introduce firmer foods back into your diet as you feel comfortable. Avoid crunchy and hard foods, sticky foods like caramels, acidic foods and citrus fruits, and hot and spicy foods, including soup, coffee, tea, and heavy spices. These foods are best avoided for the first week to ten days after surgery.
  • Swish with a warm saltwater solution periodically throughout the day, as it can help aid in healing. Most saltwater rinse recipes suggest eight ounces of warm water and one teaspoon of salt. However, if your mouth is still sore and the saltwater makes it sting, you can decrease the salt to a 1/2 teaspoon for the first one to two days.
  • To promote proper healing, it’s best to refrain from smoking during the recovery period following a dental implant procedure. Smoking can impede blood flow to the gums and jawbone, resulting in a prolonged healing period and hindering the implant’s ability to fuse effectively with the jawbone. In essence, smoking during the recovery phase can increase the risk of complications and hinder the overall success of the dental implant procedure.

As part of your dental implant recovery, the most important thing to do is follow your dentist’s post-operative care instructions. Doing so will help ensure the best possible outcome and a speedy recovery. If you have any questions or concerns during recovery, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for guidance.

Ready for dental implants? Contact Metro East Dental Care.

Recovering from a dental implant procedure requires patience and commitment to following your dentist’s post-operative instructions. This includes taking time off to rest and recover, avoiding smoking during the healing process, and adhering to a soft-food diet during the initial stages of recovery.

If you’re considering dental implants to improve your smile and your quality of life, now is the perfect time to schedule a consultation with Metro East Dental Care. As your trusted tooth implant dentist in Granite City, we have the expertise and experience to guide you through every step of the process and ensure the best possible outcome for your oral health and overall well-being. So why wait? Book your consultation today and take the first step towards achieving the smile of your dreams with dental implants!