If you’ve chosen dental implants, you likely already know that they’re natural-looking, stable, and more comfortable than other tooth replacement options. If you’re getting ready for your procedure or you’ve already had it, you might be wondering what your recovery process will be like.
Implants are generally placed in 2 steps: placing the fixture, then the abutment and crown. You shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure because you’ll be administered a local anesthetic to numb the area. Some implant dentists, like Dr. Roman Shlafer, also offer sedation options to make your experience more pleasant.
Once the anesthetic and sedative wear off, you’ll likely start to feel some pain. Pain for a short while after your procedure is normal, but if you experience a severe amount of ongoing pain after either step of the procedure, it could mean something is wrong.
After Your Procedure
It’s normal to experience some symptoms after surgery. A normal range of symptoms include:
- Swelling of your gums and face
- Bruising of your gums and skin
- Pain around the surgery site
- Minor bleeding
These symptoms should only last for a few days and shouldn’t impede your life very much. For a while after each of your surgeries, you’ll have to limit yourself to soft and preferably cold foods while the surgery site heals. Jumping back into your normal diet too quickly can cause issues to arise.
It’s crucial that you follow post-operative instructions from your dentist and proceed cautiously for a few days. Aside from resting and maintaining regular oral hygiene, there are a few other things implant dentists like Dr. Michael G. Kirsh recommend you do.
If you have painkillers or antibiotics, you should take them as prescribed. You can also use ice to numb pain as well as help with swelling, and saltwater rinses can fight infection-causing bacteria.
Complications From Surgery
If you aren’t able to continue your life as usual or your symptoms get worse, there may be a larger complication. Generally, if you experience pain and swelling more than 10 days after your implant procedure, you should contact your dentist so any issues can be identified.
Pain after two weeks is not normal and should be addressed immediately. You might have an infection that could turn into a more serious condition.
Any kind of surgery comes with risks, and dental implant surgery is no exception. Some of the most common complications include:
- An infection
- Injury or damage in the mouth
- Nerve damage that causes pain, numbness, or tingling
- Sinus problems from upper jaw implants
- Loose implant
- Rejection of the implant
If you are concerned about any of these complications, you should talk to your dentist. If you require medication or antibiotics, your oral surgeon can help you.
There are several ways you can affect the success of your dental implant procedure. Dentists like Dr. Brooks Larson in Brea, CA suggest you avoid certain harmful activities. If you take care of your implant properly, your implant will be much more likely to succeed without issue.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Practicing good oral hygiene at home every day is a good way to make sure you’re keeping your dental implant in good condition. If you don’t take care of your mouth, your implant may fail.
Smoking and using tobacco products is not recommended when you have dental implants because these products can stain your teeth and increase your chance of infection. If you smoke with implants, you could experience pain after a prolonged amount of time.
Chewing on Hard Foods
With implants, you should be able to eat most foods that you want, but some things are damaging to both your natural and implanted teeth. Foods such as ice or hard candies can cause harm to all your teeth and lead to complications.
Teeth Grinding or Clenching
Grinding or clenching your teeth, known as bruxism, can cause harm to your jaw, teeth, and implants. If you grind or clench your teeth, you should talk to your dentist about getting a protective mouthguard for nighttime use, as well as look into therapies and exercises to relax your jaw.
If your lifestyle is not conducive to receiving implants, talk to your dentist about other options for tooth loss. Implants are a great option for missing teeth, but they aren’t the only solution.
What To Do if You Have Complications
If you have complications after your oral surgery that you believe are abnormal, you should contact your dentist immediately. The longer you let the pain go on, the more complex your issue can become.
In the case of an implant failure, talk to your dentist about other options for tooth loss. You might need to undergo a supplemental procedure to promote more bone growth in your jaw or explore other options.