Dental Implant Recovery: What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery

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dental implant recovery

If you’re planning to get dental implants—replacement teeth surgically implanted into the jawbone—you likely have questions about what the dental implant recovery process is like. Here’s what you need to know. 

Will I experience pain or other side effects after dental implants?

While dental implant surgery is extremely safe, you may experience mild pain after the anesthesia wears off. Over-the-counter pain medications are often all that is needed to relieve your symptoms, however, in some cases, we may recommend a prescription medication.

You may also experience some swelling of your gums and face after your dental implants. To soothe your gums, rinsing with warm salt water can be helpful. And to reduce the swelling, you can place a cold compress or ice pack on your cheek.

If pain or discomfort lasts longer than one to two weeks—or is getting worse—please contact us immediately, so we can determine the cause of your pain and if there may be an infection at the dental implant site.

How do I care for my mouth after surgery?

After your implant, the surgical area will be sensitive for a while, so be extra gentle with your mouth. We will give you a list of aftercare instructions to follow after the surgery. For example, you’ll be advised on how to keep the area clean without disrupting healing, the importance of getting plenty of rest after your implants, and why you should avoid tobacco use (which can slow healing).

In addition, be sure to attend all your follow-up appointments. These appointments allow us to ensure you’re recovering properly and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

What can I eat while recovering?

In the hours and days after dental implant surgery, it’s important to eat only foods that are soft and easy to chew. Here are a few of the foods the American Dental Association recommends for patients recovering from dental treatment: 

  • Oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • Lukewarm vegetable soup (pureed or containing soft vegetables)
  • Meatloaf
  • Scrambled eggs or an omelet
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mashed bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Avocado
  • Yogurt
  • Tofu
  • Pasta or noodles

At the same time, be sure to avoid sticky or hard foods, which can cause discomfort or become lodged in surgical areas. In addition, steer clear of overly hot or spicy foods, which can cause irritation, as well as alcohol, which can delay healing. Some foods to avoid include: 

  • Taffy, gum, and candy
  • Hard candies
  • Ice cubes
  • Hot soup
  • Overly hot or cold drinks
  • Carbonated drinks

How long after dental implants can I eat normally?

After one to two weeks of a soft diet, you can progress to more solid foods. However, we advise continuing to avoid hard or crunchy foods until your dental implant is completely healed.

How long does it take to recover from dental implants?

Dental implant recovery time can vary from person to person, depending on how long it takes for the implants to settle. So, how long does it take for dental implants to settle? Typically, it takes an average of six to eight months for implants to fully heal and fuse to the jawbone.
We hope these tips help to shed light on the dental implant recovery process (and make it a bit less intimidating too!). Please feel free to contact us with any questions about dental implant surgery recovery or aftercare.

About The Author

Dr. David Giaquinto, DDS

Dentist at Cottonwood Dental

Dentistry is a profession that requires many layers of knowledge and training. My background encompasses three post-grad degrees along with a command of aesthetics and precision. Both of those are necessary when creating the great results that we promise our patients. Being a graduate of the University of New Mexico and Marquette University School of Dentistry has provided me with a launching point for my practice at Cottonwood Dental. My ongoing research… [Read full bio]

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