Dental implants are an excellent example of how far dental technology has advanced over the past few years. Implants consist of an artificial tooth root – typically made from titanium – that is implanted into the patient’s jawbone. After a period of a few months, the artificial root fuses to the bone, and a porcelain crown is affixed to the top of the root. The end result is a replacement for a missing tooth that is totally natural-looking, permanent and extremely durable. In fact, implants can often last a lifetime.
While there’s no doubt about the advantages of choosing a dental implant to replace one or more missing teeth, the procedure itself takes quite some time to complete. If you’re considering having dental implant surgery, here are a few important reminders about the recovery process.
- Recovery time varies from one patient to the next. How long your recovery takes will depend on your current state of oral health, how many implants you’re having done, and whether or not you require bone grafting as part of the procedure. Your dentist and/or oral surgeon can give you a good estimate of how long your recovery will take, taking into considerations all these variables.
- You may experience some soreness and discomfort after the procedure, but your dentist or oral surgeon can help you to manage this. Some amount of swelling is normal, and you should be able to go back to work or school within a couple of days of the surgery. Of course, everyone has a slightly different experience depending on how complex your procedure is, but usually patients are pleasantly surprised with how quickly the discomfort and swelling subsides, and how soon afterward they can return to their normal daily activities.
- You’ll have to modify your diet somewhat immediately after the procedure. Your dentist or oral surgeon will likely recommend that you restrict your diet to only soft foods for a week or so after your surgery. If you have more than one implant done, or if you require bone grafts for example, you might need to modify your diet for as long as 4 to 6 weeks afterward. Your dentist will probably also recommend that you avoid foods and drinks that are too hot, and that you sip drinks through a straw until your incision has healed.
- There are several other recommendations that dentists or oral surgeons typically advise patients of after the procedure. These include: don’t drink alcohol while you’re recovering, quit or at least cut down on smoking for a few weeks afterwards, spend your first day of recovery relaxing in bed, avoid bending over or getting up too quickly – especially for the first day or two after the procedure, and don’t exercise during the first 4 or 5 days of your recovery.
Getting a new dental implant is very much like getting a brand new tooth. So just give yourself a little time to recovery properly. You’ll be back to normal before you know it!