The symptoms you experience after your dental implant surgery and the length of your recovery depend on the details of your procedure, as well as how efficient your body is at healing itself. For these reasons, patient recovery times vary. The good news is that once your recovery is complete, having dental implants feels just like having your own teeth. With proper care, your dental implants can last a lifetime.
The Day of Surgery
You will have gauze placed over the areas where your surgeon inserted your dental implants. Bite on the gauze firmly, yet gently. Unless you are experiencing excessive bleeding, avoid changing the gauze for at least the first hour. After that first hour, change the gauze every 30 to 45 minutes. To make it more comfortable as you position it, moisten the gauze before you put it in your mouth.
Keeping your mouth clean is important: You can go ahead and brush your teeth, just be gentle and avoid the surgical sites. If your bleeding is minimal, you may be able to begin rinsing with warm salt water two or three times a day.
Days One, Two and Three
After oral surgery, swelling is expected. This symptom can be minimized by taking a cold pack wrapped in a towel and gently pressing it against the cheek. You can perform this treatment every 20 minutes; use the 20-minutes-on and 20-minutes-off method.
Due to bruising beneath the tissues, you may notice yellow, green, blue, or black discoloration. Once 36 hours have passed since your surgery, you can begin using moist heat on these areas. This helps speed up the healing process and eliminates the discoloration.
Day One Through Day 30 and Up to Six Weeks: Your Diet
Directly following each procedure, you’ll need to alter your diet. It needs to consist of soft, mushy foods that are less acidic and high in nutrients. You may need to remain on this altered diet for some time after each stage of your oral surgery for dental implants. Also, remember that if you had implants placed on both sides of your mouth, you need to alternate sides while you chew.
Foods that are ideal directly after oral surgery include:
- Baked beans
- Fish (without citrus)
- Smoothies and shakes (without a straw)
Once the first few days have passed, you should be able to gradually add heartier foods that are still considered soft to your diet. Basically, if you can cut a food using the side of a fork, it is considered soft.
If you had a moderate procedure, you should be able to return to your normal diet within a week to 30 days; however, if your surgery was complicated, or you experienced quite a bit of pain, you may need to remain on this soft-food diet longer (up to six weeks).
Day One Through Day 21: Caring for Your Mouth After Oral Surgery
For several weeks following your Rockledge oral surgery, you should continue to care for your mouth by gently brushing, flossing and rinsing with warm salt water: Remember to avoid disturbing the surgical sites.
After The First Month: Caring for Your Dental Implants
Properly caring for your dental implants ensures their longevity. Cleaning your implants requires brushing and flossing. However, unlike natural teeth, bacteria and food particles can accumulate in the areas around the dental implant itself. If these particles are not removed, plaque forms. Plaque is filled with bacteria and if they are not removed within 24 to 72 hours, they become tartar. This encourages more bacterial growth and potentially causes a bacterial infection to develop. A bacterial infection can lead to implant removal and the need for a bone grafting procedure.
Professional Cleanings Every Six Months
Just like your natural teeth, your dental implants need to be cleaned professionally every six months. During your cleanings, each implant thread and the surrounding tissue is thoroughly cleaned. In addition, scaling may be performed to remove any plaque that has built up beneath the gum line.
Your dental care appliance options:
- Toothbrush — since there is very little difference when it comes to using a manual, electric, or sonic toothbrush to clean the surfaces of artificial teeth, any of these are acceptable. Make sure the toothbrush you choose has soft bristles.
- Dental floss — unwaxed floss or tape is the product that most dentists recommend for cleaning around dental implants. Depending on the type of prosthesis you have, your dentist may also recommend using a ‘floss threader.’
- Water flossers (Oral irrigators) — these devices can help reduce inflammation and plaque. Find a flosser that has a nonmetal tip and use it twice a day.
- Stimulators — these are used to encourage healthy gum tissue. Without healthy gum tissue, a dental implant cannot survive. Choose a rubber-tipped stimulator because these are gentle on the gums.
Although you can eat whatever you like once your implants have healed, avoid chewing on hard items because they can break your crowns (e.g., hard candy and ice).
Dental Implants for Life
If you reside in Brevard County and are considering dental implants, contact Sunrise Facial and Oral Surgery today. Let Dr. Schmid, Dr. Kossak, and Dr. Kim help you regain the smile you have lost due to missing or failing teeth. At Sunrise Facial and Oral Surgery, we offer a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Contact one of our offices today to make your appointment: We have an office in Rockledge – 321.255.7724 and an office in Melbourne – 321.725.5377.
Call us today to discuss your needs with dental implants!