Dental implant recovery: How to speed up the healing process

Having a dental implant procedure can make you feel anxious and ecstatic at the same time. Numerous people who make the decision to have dental implants done find themselves ecstatic at the possibility of being capable of enjoying their preferred foods again, as well as feeling confident about having a gorgeous smile. Nevertheless, at the same time, it is more than normal to feel anxious about the recovery and healing process after undergoing the surgery. Particularly taking into account the fact that dental implants are supposed to osseointegrate, or in plain English, fuse with the surrounding bone, in order for the surgery to be called successful.

What can be anticipated following a dental implant procedure?

The First 48 Hours

Immediately after the implant surgery procedure is done, the dentist will place a gauze over the surgical area. The gauze should be kept in place for thirty minutes, using, of course, solid and firm pressure.

It is standard for the surgical wound to flow for up to forty-eight hours following the surgery. The bleeding should, however, slow down substantially after the very first hour. In case it doesn’t, you can always bite on a tea bag which releases tannic acid and shrinks the blood vessels around the surgical area.

During this stage, there should be over-the-counter medications taken to manage the pain and discomfort. You should pay close attention to your dentist’s instructions when it comes to dosage timing and amount. For additional pain relief, you can even apply a cold compress to your jaw every twenty minutes.

Watch out for strenuous activity throughout this time. Stressing yourself too much could result in the wounds reopening and forcing the healing process to start over again. Another thing recommended is to restrict yourself to soft foods only until the implant sore heals more and no longer hurts.

The First Week

If the post-operative instructions are followed thoroughly, you should feel all better by the third to fourth day after the procedure. During this time, you can commence decreasing the use of pain medications slowly. Several patients experience much more pain than others so they might need to take the medication for a whole week. When it concerns pain medication, you should always advise your dentist. 

The first follow-up appointment should be after seven to ten days, following the surgery. At this time, always with the dentist’s approval, you can go back to your regular diet.

Total Healing Timeline

The healing of your dental implant will require a few months, during which your body will generate fresh bone around the implant and assimilate it as a natural part of your body. This biological process, known as osseointegration, facilitates the proper anchoring of your new implant to your jawbone. In case you need supplementary preparatory procedures like bone grafts or sinus lifts, your overall recovery duration may extend slightly. To guarantee optimal results and prevent infections, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene.

Here are some general guidelines to aid in your recovery after undergoing a dental implant procedure:

In more than many cases, osseointegration can take up to six months. Some people find themselves being intimidated by this amount of time, nonetheless, it should be noted that the whole healing process is not as bad as many people believe. To make the recovery process quicker and simpler, we will write down a few tips that can help you with the whole process after dental implant surgery.


Among the best things you can do during the healing process is to let your body rest. In the event that you start feeling down and tired, this is how your body shows you it is too tired to go on so you need to slow down. It is essential to listen to it while recovering from dental implant surgery. Pushing yourself to the limits will only slow down the recovery process. This is extremely important during the first days after the surgery, but it is also important that you don’t go over the top once you start feeling better. Even when starting to feel better it is advised to avoid vigorous activities, as well as any sort of activity that could put you at risk of getting hit in the face, since both things enhance the risk of post-op complications.

Eat Soft, Nutritious Food

After undergoing dental implant surgery, the main question is what to eat. In the first forty-eight hours following the surgery, you are prohibited from eating hot or spicy foods, seeing as they cause hemorrhage or even worse, irritation of the surgical area. After that, the rule of thumb is that you can only eat soft foods. What we mean by soft foods is foods that do not require any chewing or jaw movement, since the latter can cause irritation of the surgical area. Once the incision heals, you can little by little progress to food that requires keeping chewing at a minimum, nevertheless, be certain to follow the dentist’s instructions on what you are allowed to eat.

Not only is it essential to consume soft foods, but also to eat nutritious foods. Offering your body the chance to be fed with proper nutrients after a dental implant procedure helps the healing process end faster and decreases the risk of post-op issues. A perfect way to eat soft foods loaded with nutrients is by eating steaming broccoli and consuming protein shakes. Smoothies are yet another way of making sure to get enough nutrients in the temporary soft foods diet. Nevertheless, make sure not to use a straw since its sucking can damage the surgical area. Use a spoon, rather.

Stay Hydrated

It is crucial to maintain proper hydration levels, particularly so after undergoing dental implant surgery. Staying hydrated facilitates the elimination of harmful substances from your body that could stop your recovery process. Moreover, it keeps you refreshed. To achieve this, it is advisable to consume a high amount of water while avoiding alcohol and caffeine, as both cause dehydration. Matter of fact, alcohol can interfere with the healing process and it is recommended to avoid it for at least two weeks following the procedure, or ideally until full recovery. Additionally, refrain from using straws for drinking smoothies, protein shakes, or any other beverages. 

Use Ice Packs

While swelling after dental implant surgery is typically minimal, certain individuals may experience more swelling than others. To decrease swelling and discomfort, an ice pack can be a simple and efficient solution. However, it’s essential to protect your skin from damage by wrapping the ice pack in a towel before applying it to your face. Also, it’s recommended to use ice packs for about twenty minutes, followed by a twenty-minute break before reapplying them. Prolonged use of ice packs or using them directly on your skin may result in an ice burn.

Rinse with Salt Water

Saltwater rinses are advisable after any kind of oral surgery. They are not only soothing for the wound but they also decrease the number of bacteria inside the mouth sans causing irritation. To make a saltwater rinse one needs one teaspoon of salt to 236 ml of lukewarm water. Once the salt is dissolved, you can softly swish the mixture in your mouth for roughly thirty seconds and then once you are done, spit it out. Saltwater rinses can be carried out up to four times a day, all dependent on your dentist’s instructions.

Don’t Smoke

It is a known fact that smoking is harmful to your overall health, even in case you have not undergone dental implant surgery. Nevertheless, smoking after the placement of dental implants can harshly damage your chances of a prosperous recovery process. Before all else, nicotine affects the oxygen flow to your bones and oral tissue by restricting it. Secondly, nicotine and tobacco can also affect osseointegration, which means that the fusion won’t be happening any time soon and an implant failure is highly likely. These are part of the reasons why it is advisable to quit or avoid smoking during the healing process.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Though dental implants are not part of your real teeth, they should be treated as so. Basically, they require appropriate oral hygiene. The exact oral hygiene varies throughout different phases of the recovery, but it is crucial to follow the dentist’s instructions to ensure a clean mouth. This will help in reducing the chance of the development of infection around the surgical site.

Avoid strenuous activities

You should not regress to a daily exercise routine promptly after the implant procedure. Generally, dentists advise refraining from strenuous activities for at least three days following the dental implant procedure. 

The reason behind that is that strenuous and vigorous activities can make your heart plumb faster, increasing the postoperative hemorrhage and bumping, resulting in many complexities. In simpler words, it is obligatory to restrict your ponderous physical work during the implant healing process.

Take the pain medication you are given

You will potentially be prescribed some kind form of pain medication by your dentist. To keep the pain at a minimum it is recommendable to follow the instructions. In case your dentist didn’t give you a prescription, you can always use over-the-counter medications.

Don’t use a straw

Perchance unexpectedly, when thinking of all the things you need to stop doing after a dental implant procedure you surely do not think of straws. However, it is worth mentioning that straw is the very last thing you ought to use if you have an oral wound. The sucking could sabotage the whole surgery, mess up the wound and slow down the healing process.

General post-treatment care instructions

Post-op malaises such as distress, agony, bleeding, and ache are frequent in implant-fixing surgery.

The following are some of the most frequent care actions that should be taken for a new implant tooth’s well-being:

  • Saltwater rinses- You can mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of lukewarm water. Rinse your mouth with this solution three times a day during the first week after the surgery. This will help maintain oral hygiene and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Cold compress- Apply an ice pack to the swollen area for 15 minutes, then remove it for a few minutes before repeating. Repeat the cold compress at regular intervals for several days after getting implants to soothe the nerves and minimize swelling.

Habits to discontinue

Alike smoking, there are other habits you should discontinue and lifestyle activities you should change to accelerate the recovery process. Here are some:

  • Nail biting
  • Crunching ice
  • Drinking fluids with a straw
  • Biting hard substances
  • Consuming frequent caffeinated drinks

What level of pain can be expected during the recovery period after a dental implant procedure?

The whole dental implant procedure is done under the influence of sedation so you won’t be feeling any pain. However, the sedation will wear off after a few hours. If a tooth was extracted, there might even be a blood clot at the site with minimal swelling. Dentists in Albania make the level of pain during the recovery period after a dental implant procedure as low as possible. This is partly because the root portion is so far from the nerve endings, into the bone, which makes the recovery period quicker and easier. Though a small incision will air mild irritation, nothing more will pose. Yet again, the best pain relief is over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. There is no need to fret about any kind of pain relief as bone integration happens. Actually, the recovery period after a dental implant procedure is much shorter than a wisdom tooth removal procedure.

After a dental implant procedure, when is it safe to return to normal or regular activities?

The foremost thing we tell our patients is that they can generally go back to their normal routine within one day of the surgery. This is true even if bone grafts are being placed along with dental implants. Provided that you feel relaxed, you are free to go back to your daily life such as work or other family activities. However, if you’ve had a tooth removed it is best to wait a little more until you go back to the surgical area so you won’t get irritated. Once the gum tissues are fully recovered, the osseointegration will keep going for another several months. Even so, just because your dental implants or bone grafting sites are still integrating does not mean in any way that you are supposed to change your lifestyle, change your routine or experience any discomfort. This is a completely natural process that takes time. Most of the osseointegration can take from three to six months, all depending on your oral health.

What are the steps to take care of your implants during the healing process?

Easy! Keep your initial oral hygiene routine, that is if it is the correct one. Dodge brushing and flossing around the implant area for the very first days. Rather, rinse with lukewarm salt water to remove the bacteria and prevent any sort of infection. Following your implant surgery recovery, you will have to start cleaning your dental implant the same way you do with your natural teeth. Throughout the treatment plan examination, your dentist will show you how the maintenance of good oral hygiene goes.

What is the expected timeline for a full recovery after a dental implant procedure?

Once more, this is what surprises most cosmetic dentistry clients. Dentists in our clinics are certain that for implant patients the recovery process only lasts about twenty-four hours. That being said, after the twenty-four hours are done you can go on with your daily routine. Just keep in mind that the full recovery after a dental implant procedure, for the bone to osseointegrate, can last several months. In order to prevent implant failure, dentists in Albania won’t be placing permanent restorations for instant use. Rather, you will be wearing impermanent healing prostheses to fill in the missing teeth.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that the dental implant healing process period changes for every individual as the recovery process is dependent on several factors such as the number of implants fixed or the implant’s location. If you get bone graft surgery, the recovery process will last much longer.

As aforementioned, apart from taking the prescribed medication, you should also make small changes in your diet or abandon some of your favorite things for appropriate implant healing.

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