Many patients are nervous about the recovery from dental implant surgery, but the good news is that it’s usually much easier than people anticipate. Recovery is generally faster and less painful than that of a tooth extraction or other oral surgery procedures, and although it can take months for your dental implants and jaw to fuse together, you’ll be able to return to your normal activities after a few days. Here’s what you can expect.
Dental Implant Pain
“Does it hurt to get dental implants?”
Almost every one of our dental implant patients asks some form of this question. For any surgical procedure, it’s natural to worry about pain, and many patients have memories of swelling and discomfort after having teeth extracted. They wonder what the dental implant surgery will feel like and how uncomfortable they’ll be in the hours and days afterwards.
During the dental implant procedure itself, we will numb the area with local anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain while we work, although you might feel some pressure and movement. If you need a number of implants or have anxiety, you might opt for IV sedation during your surgery, in which case you won’t feel anything at all. Immediately after the procedure, your mouth will still be numb; it can take a few hours for the numbness to completely wear off.
Once you’re no longer numb, you will experience some throbbing pain at the surgical site. Take pain medication as instructed and use cold compresses to help control swelling. Most patients find that the pain only lasts for about 72 hours after implant surgery, although for up to a week, you’ll probably experience some tenderness if you chew or brush near the implant.
If you continue to feel pain a week after your implant surgery or the pain gets worse each day instead of better, call our office right away, as this is a sign of infection.
Dental Implant Recovery
As mentioned above, the recovery from dental implant surgery is usually easier than recovery from a tooth extraction. Many of the aftercare recommendations are the same—eating soft foods, getting plenty of rest, avoiding strenuous exercise, abstaining from tobacco and alcohol—but you’ll feel better sooner. Before you leave our office, we’ll provide you with comprehensive aftercare instructions to help ensure that your recovery is fast, comfortable, and free of complications.
After three days, you should be able to return to your normal activities, but use common sense and listen to your body. Patients who only have a single dental implant placed will have an easier recovery than patients who have several.
Even once you feel better physically, you haven’t completely recovered from your surgery—the process of osseointegration is occurring below the gum line, which is the term used for the fusing of the jawbone and the dental implants. This can take up to six months to complete, but the wait is worth it—after osseointegration occurs, the success rate for dental implants is very high and they can be expected to last a lifetime.