Tooth loss is considered very common and can occur due to disease or trauma. Fortunately, dental implants are now an option to replace missing teeth. Some statistics indicate that at least 69% of adults between 35 and 44 years old have one (or more) teeth missing because of gum disease, accident, failed root canal, or tooth decay.
In addition, at least 26% of adults have lost all their teeth by age 74. Statistics also show that dentists the world over have placed around 100,000 to 300,000 dental implants each year.
Dental Implants in a Nutshell
Essentially, a dental implant is a type of prosthesis that is used by dentists to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are small titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone. On top of the dental implant, the dentist can attach either of the following:
- A fixed bridge
- A full denture
- A partial denture
- A single crown
Once the implant has successfully integrated with the bone, the dentist will connect a structure known as abutment to the dental implant. The abutment is used to attach the artificial tooth (or teeth). Dental implant surgery is considered a good alternative if dentures don’t fit well.
Factors That Can Affect Dental Implant Recovery Time
Since patients have unique oral conditions, there is no set recovery time for the dental implant procedure. However, the following factors can affect the recovery time of your dental implant procedure:
- The number of teeth that’s extracted and implanted (single, multiple, or whole jaw)
- If the bone is healthy enough to support the implants
- If the procedure requires bone grafting
- Healing time and individual differences
Your lifestyle choices and tolerance can also impact your dental implant healing time. Case in point: if you smoke, you need to minimize smoking or stop the habit altogether as it can affect your healing process. This is especially true if you have had grafting done.
If the dental implant procedure is straightforward, with no bone grafting involved, you will likely experience very minimal discomfort or healing after the procedure. Any discomfort is also likely to only last a few days.
Your dentist will also prescribe painkillers to help manage any pain, discomfort, or soreness. Typically, patients are able to get back to their usual routine after seven to ten days.
Dental Implant Recovery Tips
After your dental implant surgery, you need to observe proper aftercare so you can recover quickly and easily.
- Take it easy. After your dental implant procedure, consider it best to take the rest of the day off to rest. If you are given a sedative, you will also likely feel drowsy. That said, you should not do anything that will require you to focus like driving. You also need to avoid doing strenuous activities as it might lead to bleeding.
- Follow instructions. Your dentist might recommend that you avoid brushing and using any mouthwash as your mouth may be too sensitive for the standard oral hygiene. You might also be advised to not brush the affected area for the time being.
- Apply ice. You might have swelling or bruises on your face. However, this is usual. You can remedy this by applying ice to your jaw for 30 minutes. If you have had surgery on both sides of your mouth, apply ice to each side. The swelling and soreness should subside after a few days. If the condition worsens and you notice any pus or if you develop any fever, you might have an infection. In similar cases, it is recommended that you visit your dentist immediately.