If you're getting dental implants, it's important to know what to expect during the healing process. Here we will outline the different dental implant healing stages and what you can expect each step of the way.
Dental implants are a popular choice for those looking for an alternative to dentures or bridges. They offer many benefits, including improved dental health and aesthetics.
If you're considering dental implants, be sure to read our post about the dental implant healing stages!
What Are Dental Implants?
Placing dental implants is a dental procedure that replaces missing teeth. They’re made of titanium and act as the roots for replacement teeth.
Like dental crowns or dentures, they can fill gaps where teeth are missing. However, unlike crowns, there is no requirement for a root to be intact. Even in situations where no adult tooth had ever existed, an implant can be used to replace it.
Unlike dentures, dental implants are permanent. Dental implants can restore your dental health so you can eat, chew and speak with ease again. They are the closest dental option to a real tooth replacement that modern science offers.
Here at Montclair Dental Spa we also try to be as clear and transparent about dental implant costs as possible too. So, you can take a look at prices on our website.
Why Get Dental Implants?
Once an adult tooth has fallen out it will never grow back or be replaced by nature. Implants provide another option to replace a missing adult tooth.
There are a few dental implant pros and cons to consider before embarking on the dental implant procedure.
The main benefits of dental implants include:
- Increased dental health (the artificial tooth roots help stimulate bone growth)
- Improved speech, chewing, and eating functions
- No slipping or sliding when eating or talking, unlike some false dentures
- Aesthetically pleasing (they look more like real teeth than dental crowns or dentures)
- Can last a lifetime with the proper dental care
Dental implants are suitable for people of all ages, including teenagers and seniors. Children who are still developing are not suitable candidates because their jaw hasn't finished growing implants do pose a risk of impeding growth.
Have you lost a lot of teeth? Have you lost all of them? Here at Montclair Dental Spa, we can replace all the teeth a person has lost using All-on-4® implants which are an exciting alternative to dentures that look and feel like real teeth.
The Dental Procedure For Implants
Before we explain the stages of healing, let's first look at the stages of surgery. The stages for surgically installing dental implants directly relate to the time it takes for a patient to heal.
When you visit a dental clinic for a consultation for dental implants, a dental technician will take X-rays of your teeth and jaw. That way, the dental surgeon knows what to expect during surgery.
They will also assess whether dental implants are the best dental procedure for you.
If dental implants don't suit your needs, your dental technician may recommend an alternative dental procedure instead. Some patients only want to get one implant but, in some cases, dental surgeons may recommend getting two or more dental implants.
The cost, amount of time it takes, and healing time all depend on the number of dental implants you require. If you have one implant, the whole process will be a lot faster than if you need four dental implants.
The dentist will also take dental impressions of your teeth and mouth. These dental molds will be used to make a dental cast, which the dental lab uses to craft your dental crowns for implants.
The materials used for dental implants will also be chosen at this point. Common dental implant materials include dental porcelain, dental gold, and dental titanium.
The dentist will also discuss your dental health history to ensure you are eligible for surgery. For example, they may recommend a dental cleaning first if your teeth have excessive plaque or tartar buildup before installing implants.
Some patients already have missing adult teeth and don't require extractions before implant surgery. Other patients may need dental extractions if they have teeth that are severely decayed, infected, or damaged.
The dental surgeon will remove any unhealthy teeth and then clean the area where the dental implant will be installed. This is to prevent infection and ensure a successful dental implant surgery.
Implant surgery requires adequate bone height and width to place the dental implant. If a patient doesn't have enough healthy bone tissue in their jaw, the dental surgeon will need to perform a bone grafting procedure.
This is a common dental implant healing stage that involves taking healthy bone from another part of your body and transplanting it into the jawbone where the dental implant will go.
The dental surgeon may also use dental bone grafting material instead of a natural dental graft, depending on the patient's condition and dental health. After this procedure, there is usually some dental injury or trauma to the soft tissues in your mouth that need healing time before implant surgery can be performed.
So bone grafting can be an additional stage in the process that's important to be aware of.
Surgery can finally go ahead when your mouth has been prepared, it is perfectly clean and dentists have checked that the foundations and jaw strength are suitable for surgery.
Implant surgery is a dental procedure that involves installing dental screws into the jaw where the dental crowns will go.
The dental surgeon will also install healing abutments at this stage to keep soft tissues in place while they heal and prevent them from growing over your dental implants during the dental implant healing stages.
Surgery can take between one and two hours, depending on the number of dental implants you're having installed.
Recovery and Healing
The time it takes for a patient to heal varies. A few factors that influence healing time for dental implants include:
- Patient age (though not an impairing factor, does affect healing)
- General health and medical history
- Smoking habits
- Type of dental implant material used
Most patients report mild discomfort and soreness after surgery. This is normal and usually improves within a week or two. Painkillers may be prescribed to help manage any pain you experience.
You will also need to take a dental antibiotic for at least two weeks after dental implant surgery to prevent dental infection and aid dental healing.
Your dentist will also give you specific dental hygiene instructions to ensure proper oral healthcare during the dental implant healing stages. You may need to use an antibacterial mouthwash or saltwater rinse. You must avoid chewing on one side of your mouth, smoking, and drinking alcohol until your dental implants are fully healed.
It's important to follow your dentist's instructions during the dental implant healing stages so you can ensure a successful outcome from your surgery. Failure to do so could cause severe complications. For example, cigarette smoke close to open wounds is linked to impaired healing and complications.
Dental Implant Healing Stages
Overall recovery time depends on the types of treatments the patient has undergone. It typically takes between 10 days and 6 weeks, before a patient can eat their normal diet.
Some factors that can influence the amount of time it takes to heal include:
- The number of teeth removed and replaced (single, multiple, or whole jaw)
- The health of your jawbones and underlying tissue
- Age and health factors that influence healing time
Although the amount of time that patients spend at each stage of recovery does vary, the majority of clients will go through the following 4 stages.
Stage 1, Post Surgery
Immediately after dental implant surgery, you will be advised to take it easy. This means no physical activity, eating hard or crunchy foods, or smoking. You should also avoid biting into anything on the side of your mouth where surgery was performed.
It's best to drink water slowly through a straw. You may feel some discomfort and swelling in the area around the dental implant. This is normal and can last for a few days to a week.
If you're experiencing pain, take the prescribed medication as directed. You may also need to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash or saltwater solution. Follow your dentist's guidelines precisely.
Stage 2, Soft Tissue Healing
This stage usually lasts around two weeks and is characterized by swelling and redness in the dental implant area. For some people, it can take up to six weeks for swelling to go down.
During the soft tissue healing stage after dental implant surgery, you should continue to take it easy and avoid any physical activity. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to help flush the area and promote healing.
You may also need to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash or saltwater solution. Follow your dentist's guidelines precisely.
Stage 3, Adjusting and Bone Healing
Adjusting to dental implants and allowing your bones to heal takes some time. This stage can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the patient's dental health and age.
You should continue to avoid physical activity during this stage. However, you can gradually start resuming some of your normal activities. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet.
It is important to brush your teeth gently and avoid dental implants until they have fully healed. Vigorous brushing against the implants can cause irritation, soreness and impede healing. Gentle flushing with saltwater and antibacterial mouthwashes are the perfect way to clean them, along with a very soft-bristled brush on the crown itself.
Stage 4, Maintenance
Once your dental implant has healed completely, you will need to go for regular checkups with your dentist. Maintaining dental implants is similar to taking care of your natural teeth. Brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist for a cleaning every six months.
If you're getting dental implants, it's important to know what to expect during the dental implant healing stages. By following your dentist's instructions carefully, you can ensure a successful outcome from your surgery.
Effective Dental Implant Recovery
Recovery time will depend on a lot of different factors but there are some things you can do to improve your recovery process. Here are some recommendations.
Take Plenty of Rest
All dentists will advise you to take plenty of rest after dental implant surgery. This is because the dental implant healing stages are critical in your dental health and can be severely impacted by physical exertion.
Follow Your Dentist's Instructions
It's important not to smoke, eat crunchy or hard foods, or do anything that could put stress on the dental implant post-surgery. Follow your dentist's precise instructions for a successful and speedy recovery.
Guard Blood Clots Immediately After Surgery
Blood clotting around surgery sites is a natural part of the healing process so it's important to protect them. Cleaning very gently with mouth wash and saltwater is essential in the first few days and weeks after surgery.
Take Pain Medicine
Pain medicine is usually prescribed after dental implant surgery and it's important to take it as directed. Dental implant surgery is painful and will disrupt your routine so pain medicine can help to control the pain and allow you to get on with your daily activities.
If the pain becomes intense, apply ice packs. Some relief to the soft tissues that might be inflamed can be found by using ice packs. The dental implant healing stages can be painful, but you should always contact your dentist if the pain becomes unbearable.
Follow Up With The Dentist On Schedule
Don't delay dental implant checking in on your healing stages by missing your dental check-up appointments. They are essential to help monitor the dental implant process and ensure you have a healthy recovery.
Was Our Dental Implant Healing Stages Guide Helpful?
To summarize, dental implants are a dental procedure that can greatly improve your dental health. Dental implant healing stages may be painful and uncomfortable but the results will last for years to come.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about dental implants or anything else. Here at Montclair Dental Spa we're experts on dental health and wellness.