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Recovery after Dental Implant Surgery

By Joe McIntyre, DDS on August 26, 2015

A dental implant being held with dental tweezers with a man in the background preparing to open his mouthIf you suffer from missing teeth, you may be considering dental implant surgery. Implant dentistry treatments are the best option for replacing missing teeth because they offer a sturdy anchor for tooth restorations. Before undergoing dental implant surgery, it is important to understand what to expect during recovery. Bridgewater dentists Joe McIntyre and Dan Whiting offer this explanation of what to expect during dental implant surgery.

Dental Implant Surgery - Stages of Recovery

Dental implant surgery itself is relatively quick and minimally invasive. However, the total process, including recovery time, can take a few months. This is because sufficient time is required before moving to the next stage in dental implant treatment to ensure proper bone healing and implant success. This also means that there are multiple recovery stages during the dental implant process.

The full process can take upwards of six months, depending on the state of the jawbone as well as personal healing times. Some patients may require a bone graft to rebuild areas of the jaw where the bone has receded. If a bone graft is required, it can take as long as nine months for the graft to fully integrate with the surrounding bone before dental implant surgery can be performed. Once the jawbone is ready to accommodate the implants, dental implant surgery can be performed. During dental implant surgery, a small incision is made in the gums and the dental implant is placed.

Here are some things to expect during the initial dental implant surgery recovery and the subsequent stages of dental implant treatment.

  • Initial recovery: Immediately following dental implant surgery, it is normal for the jaw and gums to feel sore and tender. Patients may also experience some swelling. Crunchy, hard foods and foods with kernels and seeds should be avoided during the initial recovery because these can irritate the gums and lodge between the implant and gum tissue. Over the next few weeks, pain and swelling should subside as the jawbone heals around the dental implant in a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration is vital to the success of dental implant treatment. This process creates the bond between the bone and dental implant, keeping the implant in place. Osseointegration can take six months or more. 
  • Recovery after abutment placement: Once the initial recovery phase is complete, generally marked by the success of osseointegration, the abutment can be placed. The abutment is used to attach the dental restoration to the dental implant. To place the abutment, a small incision will be made in the gum tissue in order to reach the dental implant. After the abutment is placed, the gums will feel sore. Any pain should lessen in the days following placement. Most people are fully recovered from abutment placement in one to two weeks. Crunchy, hard foods and foods with seeds should be avoided as the gums heal.
  • Final recovery: The final step in dental implant treatment is restoration placement, which is done once the gums are healed from the abutment placement. A dental crown, bridge, or denture will be placed depending on how many teeth are being replaced and how many dental implants were placed. Once the restoration is placed, the gums may feel a little sore or tender, however, any discomfort should be short-lived. 

Find Out More about Dental Implant Surgery

The benefits of dental implant treatment make the process well worth it. To find out more about dental implant surgery, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Drs. McIntyre and Whiting.

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