The first concern that strikes us when going for any surgery is the question of “how long will it take to recover after the surgery?” Today, let us solve the concerns regarding recovery after dental implants surgery.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants surgery is performed by drilling through and installing titanium implants into the jawbone and gums of a patient. Titanium metal does not harm the tissues and fuses in with the jawbone over time. Generally, the gums heal completely in a period ranging from 3 to 6 months, varying from person to person. Dental implants last longer when done by the right family dentists and taken care of by the patients.
After any surgery, dental implants require a few precautions. During the period immediately following the surgery, one needs to be comparatively more careful than to regret later. Let us first have a look at the things to be taken care of on the first day after the dental implants surgery.
The first day after dental implants surgery:
Once the surgery finishes, a wet gauze pack is applied to the surgical area. A patient needs to gently apply pressure on this gauze, by biting, to stop the bleeding. When done right, the bleeding stops within an hour after the surgery is over. Although unlikely, but in case of continuous and heavy bleeding even after a couple of hours of the surgery, one needs to consult the dentist.
Bleeding in the surgical area:
It is common for a little amount of blood to ooze from the surgical area but, the wet gauze should be able to stop it. Oozing can continue for 24-48 hours after the surgery. The gauze can be replaced after every 30-45 minutes if it gets soaked in the blood more often.
Vomiting and nausea:
A sensation of nausea is generally present after the surgery. Vomiting can also occur because of the blood which got swallowed. Nausea and vomiting may result as a side-effect of pain relief medicines. Therefore, a patient shouldn’t take these medicines on an empty stomach. Eating a small amount before taking the pills helps reduce nausea.
A person can eat soft food which is easy to chew and swallow. On the day of the surgery, a patient should intake liquid food like fruit juices, smoothies, and soups, etc. Hard foods like nuts and popcorns should be avoided. Due to the loss of blood, it is natural to feel low. And hence the liquids should be taken amply to feel better and increase healing. You can move towards solid foods after the first few days.
Oral hygiene to be followed:
Maintaining oral hygiene becomes even more important when the gums are healing. A person can brush their teeth gently on the night of the surgery. But if the blood is still oozing, a light and a quick rinse with saltwater work best after 24 hours of the surgery. Do not gargle or move the muscles of your mouth rigorously on the first day, as it can lead to bleeding. Remember, no food particles should be left inside the mouth after eating.
General body activity:
On the day of surgery, strict bed-rest is advised for a patient. Because movements and heavy physical activities result in more blood circulation which in turn may cause bleeding. A person should allow healing with proper rest. Sitting vertically, in case of bleeding, can also help stop it.
The cheek next to the surgical area does get swollen due to the procedure. This swelling can be reduced by applying ice packs on the cheek at regular convenient intervals. The ice packs should be tolerable and not too cold. Dentists can also prescribe medications that help reduce this swelling too. The swelling is maximum on the second and third days after the dental implants surgery.
Second and third days following the surgery:
The pain slowly starts reducing after the second and third days of the surgery. Still, one should be careful. As we discussed, solid foods can be taken if the person feels comfortable. But hard foods should still be avoided.
When the bleeding stops, teeth can be gently brushed. Mouth rinses with saltwater should be performed after every meal as on the first day of the dental implants surgery. It is better to follow a healthy oral hygiene routine because hygiene can avoid infections and ensure a faster recovery.
Swelling or discolouration:
On the second and third days, the swelling is maximum. A slight discolouration might start to show too. This happens due to the injury to the tissues. It can be reduced by applying gentle moist heat in the form of cloth or rice heat pack covered in a towel. Moist heat also soothes the pain.
The first couple of days are the hardest. The gums generally start to heal following that. It’s not that difficult on the third day and later. The cheek may still be swollen, but normal food can be taken. Given proper time and conditions, the surgical area will heal perfectly.
Benefits of dental implants;
The most important factors that decide the healing time after teeth replacement surgery are oral hygiene and enough rest. The dentists strictly advise quitting smoking in the recovery period after dental implants surgery. Because smoking negatively affects the overall health and hygiene of your mouth. So cigarette smokers have a higher risk of dental implant failure. When everything is done right, dental implants have the following benefits:
- Can last longer than dentures
- Permanent in nature as they are directly placed into the jawbone
- Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth
- Easy to clean and take care of compared to dentures
- Reduce the erosion of jawbone due to aging
Ved Berani is one of the most acclaimed cosmetic, implants, and sedation dentist in Australia. He is the Principal Dentist of Sleep Dream Smile. His dedication to continuing education has driven him to achieve the Fellowship at the Greater New York Dental Meeting of the International Academy of Dentofacial Aesthetics (FIADFE) and also a Membership of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (MFGDP) in the UK.