If you plan to have dental implants installed, or have recently been recommended for implants, then you probably already know the wealth of benefits that they will provide. After all, having a full and healthy set of teeth is an integral factor to your dental health. Before your implants can be fully utilized, however, they require a successful recovery after surgery.
While dental implants have a high rate of success with few risks, nearly all patients can expect at least a few side effects during the early stages of recovery. In order for patients to have appropriate expectations for the post-surgical healing process and prepare accordingly, take the following notes into consideration. With the right information and the skilled hands of our Montgomery oral surgeons, you can have a successful and rewarding dental implant procedure.
Early Side Effects of Surgery
Right after implant surgery is complete, you will likely feel the residual effects of the procedure’s anesthesia and sedation. Although some patients may feel nauseous or light-heated afterward, most people are simply calm and drowsy. With the help of a friend or family member, you can arrive home to begin your rest.
It is important at this time to begin taking your prescribed painkilling medication, in order to limit discomfort as the anesthesia begins to wear off. Although some patients may be tempted to take a weaker analgesic or no medication at all, prescription-strength painkillers are recommended for at least the first few days, and it is much easier to prevent pain from setting in than to counter it afterward.
In the hours following surgery, patients may notice light bleeding from the implants and their incisions. The application of a gauze pad and light pressure should manage any temporary bleeding, which should resolve completely by the end of the day.
Side Effects over the First Week
The predominant side effects of surgery will arise over the first two days, reaching their worst state by the third day. These effects should not be an immediate cause for concern, as they are commonly experienced after oral surgery and surgery in general:
- Soreness: Patients will experience some pain in the jaw and gums, as tissue has been damaged to accommodate the dental implants. As noted, this discomfort can be controlled via prescription painkillers, until patients feel comfortable switching to a less powerful medication such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen.
- Bruising: Bruises may appear on the jaw, neck, and gums as a result of your dental implants being installed. Discoloration is often particularly noticeable once swelling begins to subside, but should be significantly reduced or gone completely by the end of the week.
- Swelling: It is common for the jaw, gums, and cheeks to swell after implant surgery. Swelling typically lasts for about a week, but its severity and duration can be reduced through the application of an ice pack over the first 48 hours. Hold the ice pack to affected areas for 15 minutes at a time, with 15-minute breaks in between applications. It is also helpful to keep your head elevated whenever possible, even when sitting down and sleeping.
After one or two weeks, your face should look and feel significantly better, and you should be able to engage in most daily activities with little to no difficulty. If side effects persist or worsen, or your gums become increasingly inflamed, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
The side effects of dental implant surgery rarely persist longer than two weeks, but patients should still be aware of their implants throughout the healing process. In the following weeks and months, your implants will need to fuse with surrounding bone tissue in a process called osseointegration. Until healing is complete, certain precautions to protect your implants should be considered. When eating, avoid chewing on or near the implants whenever possible. A soft food diet should also be implemented during the first couple of weeks, and any foods that are particularly hard or chewy should be avoided altogether during recovery. Likewise, hygiene is of the utmost importance: brush twice a day and floss daily in order to prevent gum disease from forming around implants and causing them to fail.
Make Your Implant Surgery a Success
We are ready to help you through the dental implant process, from your initial consultation to the final days of your recovery. Contact our office to ask about your implants or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced oral surgeons.