What to Expect as You Heal From Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implants are permanent porcelain teeth affixed to your jawbone and can be used to eat, speak and chew like your original teeth. Dental implants replace missing, decayed, or damaged teeth for a smile you can appreciate.

The best way to prepare for the surgery is to know what to expect during the recovery process of your procedure. However, the benefits of dental implants far outweigh the possible discomfort of healing from the extensive surgery.

Swelling of Gums/Face

Similar to having a tooth pulled, your dental implants will take weeks to heal completely. The recovery process involves swelling of the gums or face. Swelling is normal and can include pain in your jaw, neck or even cheeks.

Your dentist may prescribe you painkillers to help with the pain and swelling. You can also apply cold ice packs wrapped in a cloth to help manage the swelling (for increased comfort, switch to warm compresses once the swelling has gone).

Call your dentist if the swelling worsens after a few days, makes it hard to breathe, or increases rapidly with an accompanying fever. Since implant surgery involves cutting into the gum line, your mouth is prone to infection, and a fever should be addressed by your orthodontist immediately.

Pain in Face/Jaw

Your jawbone will take time to heal from the number of dental implants that are placed in your bone. The procedure can cause normal pain or stiffness in your jaw area, cheeks, neck or other parts of your mouth or face. You can help reduce pain and discomfort from your dental implants by chewing soft foods, avoiding rigorous exercise until approved by your dentist, and continuing to take any prescribed medication.

Call your dentist if your jaw is so stiff that you cannot open your mouth or pain worsens and is accompanied by bleeding, fever or mouth sores. Your dentist will likely schedule you for a follow-up appointment after your procedure to ensure that your mouth is healing properly.

Difficulty Eating

Until your mouth fully heals from your dental implant procedure, you can expect some discomfort or difficulties when eating or drinking. Eat lukewarm foods and avoid overly cold beverages. Stick to soft or easy-to-chew foods, such as:

  • Oatmeal
  • Soup
  • Pudding
  • Protein drinks
  • Blended foods

To prevent infection in your mouth and to help speed healing, rinse your mouth gently with lukewarm water and salt after every meal. Your dental specialist will send you home with a cleaning kit for your teeth to help you rinse your mouth properly to keep the surgery site in your mouth clean.

As your jaw heals and your gum swelling goes down, you will be able to eat foods that you likely couldn’t before you had your dental implants placed. When your dentist gives you the approval, you can enjoy eating hard fruits, chewy meats, and other food items that were difficult for you to eat before you had dental implants.

As with any dental procedure that involves surgery, you can expect your mouth to feel sore or stiff following your dental implant treatment. But your dentist will help you stay as comfortable as possible during recovery. Follow their advice to speed healing and to protect your new dental implants.

Dental implants renew your smile and improve your oral health. If you are considering dental implants, speak to your dentist about the surgical procedure and what it entails to help prepare you for your visit. When you choose Richard W. Leong Jr., DDS, PA for your dental needs, you choose a professional with experience you can trust. Call our office today to make an appointment.