During dental implant placement, your dentist or oral surgeon will essentially replace your missing tooth with a post that will eventually have a dental crown on the end.
The placement of the implant itself requires a surgical procedure that ensures the implant is placed correctly and will fuse with your jawbone over time, creating a secure foundation for a dental crown.
While the procedure typically only takes one to two hours, the healing process can take a few months while the implant integrates with your natural jawbone. Here’s what you can expect after dental implant placement as your mouth heals.
Immediately After the Procedure
Immediately following your dental implant placement, your surgical site will be numb from local anesthesia. You should avoid eating anything or brushing your teeth until the numbness wears off.
Some patients prefer sedation dentistry for a dental implant procedure to reduce stress and anxiety in addition to local anesthesia . If you have received sedation dentistry, depending on the type of treatment you received, you may feel groggy or not remember much of your procedure. Some levels of sedation dentistry require you to have someone to take you home afterward.
You should plan to rest for the remainder of the day after your procedure. You should avoid exercise or strenuous activity for the first few days after the surgery.
Expect Some Swelling and Bleeding
It’s normal to have swelling, bruising, and bleeding at the dental implant placement site after your surgery. Your face may swell and you will have some discomfort, but your dentist will work with you to manage your pain before, during, and after the procedure. Most patients report that dental implant placement is less painful than having a tooth pulled .
Patients can expect the swelling to subside within a few days, with the worst of the swelling generally occurring in the first 48 hours after the procedure. Depending on the pain management protocol your surgeon uses, you may be able to manage this pain with over the-counter medication, but your provider will prescribe stronger medication just in case.
Any discomfort, swelling, or bleeding that does not subside after the first few days may need to be evaluated by your dentist to ensure the healing process is going as intended.
Eat Soft Foods and Brush Carefully
It’s essential to protect your surgical site by eating soft foods after your dental implant placement and brushing carefully. Stock up on foods such as smoothies, soups, oatmeal, yogurt, rice, beans, and any other soft foods you like.
Brushing and flossing your teeth after dental implant surgery is still important. However, avoid brushing the dental implant site directly, at least for the first few days following the procedure. When you do begin brushing the site, always be gentle and use a soft-bristled toothbrush . You should avoid flossing around the site for at least a week or two.
Your oral healthcare provider will let you know more specific instructions based on your particular case, so always follow their care guide and follow up with them if you have any questions.
Healing Your Dental Implant
If you take care of your smile and follow your provider’s instructions, you should heal properly after the procedure and have a fully integrated dental implant after a few weeks or months. Once your implant is healed, your dentist will place your permanent dental crown and your smile will be restored.