Once you’ve restored your smile by replacing missing teeth, it’s important to follow your dentist’s advice during recovery. A seamless recovery can contribute to the success of your dental implants - ensuring that the results you’re seeing now can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Dr. Victor Siegel provides patients at his Bethesda cosmetic dentistry practice with the following dental implant recovery tips.
The Importance of Recovery
The long-term success of dental implants depends on their ability to bond with your jaw bone - something that happens during the recovery period. By keeping your implant site healthy, clean, and free of infection, you promote the fusion of implant and bone, known as osseointegration, that will keep your restored teeth strong for years to come. This process, which can take up to six months, may seem like a lengthy recovery - but the results you’ll enjoy can be permanent.
Immediately After Surgery
During the first few hours after your surgery, you may experience lightheadedness or fatigue from the anesthesia. It’s important to have someone available to drive you home from your appointment. Many patients feel capable of returning to work the day after their implant surgery, although you should take additional time off if you’re still feeling fatigue or pain.
For the first few days after your surgery, you may experience facial bruising or swelling, as well as minor bleeding at the implant site. These are normal side effects and should resolve on their own; in the meantime, minimize discomfort by eating soft foods and rinsing with salt water, or an oral solution prescribed by your dentist.
Even after the swelling subsides, you are still considered “in recovery” until your jaw bone has healed around your dental implant. In order to promote healing, your dentist will recommend that you:
- Don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, your dentist most likely asked you to quit smoking prior to your dental implant procedure. If so, continue to abstain until you have completely recovered. If cigarette or pipe smoke comes into contact with your surgical wound, the resulting infection may cause your dental implant to fail.
- Continue to rinse. If your dentist has advised you to rinse with a salt water or prescription solution, it’s important to do so regularly. Keeping your implant site clean and free of bacteria will promote healing and reduce infection.
- Take your antibiotics. Not all patients will need medication after dental implant surgery. However, if your dentist has prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take them as directed. Preventing infection is crucial to the success of your surgery.
- Follow up with your dentist. After your surgery, you will have regularly scheduled follow-up appointments with your dentist, which allow him or her to monitor your healing process and the effectiveness of any prescribed medication. Attending these appointments will also help to identify and treat any infections early.
When to Call Your Dentist
If, between your follow-up appointments, you notice any unusual swelling, sensitivity, or discomfort at your implant site, contact your dentist immediately. When infections are identified early, they may be treated. However, if not addressed promptly, an untreated infection can cause your implant to fail.
Learn More about Dental Implant Recovery
Taking care of your dental implants after surgery can ensure that your results are maintained for years to come. To learn more about how you can make your dental implant surgery a success during recovery, contact Dr. Victor Siegel today!