Dental implants are the single best tooth-replacement system in dentistry. It is the only method of tooth replacement that preserves the jaw bone and prevents further bone loss. Other restorations such as dentures and dental bridges do not last for nearly as long and are limited in functionality and convenience.
Dental implants can last for a lifetime with proper oral care, except for replacing the crown that is attached to the implants. Unlike dentures and dental bridges, you are free to eat what you want and they require no extra maintenance other than how you would normally clean your teeth.
In this blog from Clear Smile Dental Studio in Stamford, we’re going into depth about the dental implant healing process. To learn more about how long it takes to heal, what to expect, and aftercare protocols, read on.
The implant procedure takes place in 3 different steps, requiring healing time and osseointegration in between.
First Appointment: You will be given a local anesthetic so you don’t feel any pain. An incision will be made into the gums and the jawbone will be drilled into before implanting a titanium rod into the jawbone. You will need 2 weeks to heal from this minor surgery but 3-6 months for osseointegration in which the implant fuses with the jawbone.
Second Appointment: After you have healed and the implant has fully fused with the jawbone, you will return to Clear Smile Dental Studio for a second small oral surgery. The gums will be reopened to attach an abutment to your implant.
The abutment screws onto the implant and will be used to attach your crown to the implant 6 weeks from now. It will take up to 2 weeks to heal from this second surgery. Scans and x-rays will be taken of your teeth to create a tooth restoration that perfectly matches your natural teeth.
Third Appointment: Six weeks later, your crown should be ready to be attached to your abutment and fitted into your mouth. You want to ensure that the crown feels comfortable and fits properly inside of your mouth.
In the long dental implant process, this step is the simplest, requires no surgery or anesthetic, and will cause no pain. After your crown is placed, you will be able to enjoy your new fully functional teeth and can clean them like normal.
Everyone heals at their own pace and factors such as bone health and how many implants were received can have a big effect on how long it takes for your implants to heal. Keep in mind that despite how fast or slow you heal from the oral surgery, the process of osseointegration will still be slow.
Osseointegration is also variable but will take a minimum of 3 months. The following factors can affect how long it takes for your mouth to heal and prolong the process:
You can expect to experience some bleeding and swelling immediately following the oral surgery. While this is normal, excessive bleeding for a prolonged period should be taken seriously and you should contact your dentist about this right away to make sure you don’t have mucositis or peri-implantitis.
Immediately following your implant procedure, you will need to bite down on some fresh gauze for 30 minutes to an hour to stop the bleeding. Swelling can be reduced with the use of ice packs and saltwater rinses.
Ice packs can also reduce swelling and you may need anti-pain medication once the local anesthetic wears off. You will need to stick to soft, cool foods initially and over a few days, you can start to introduce your regular diet back into your routine. Try to avoid chewing on the side of the implant and follow your dentist’s instructions on brushing and flossing.
Wondering if dental implants would be a good option for you? Contact us at Clear Smile Dental Studio for an exam and evaluation. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Byungchul Park or Dr. Gitae Kwon in Stamford today to see if you’d be a good candidate and restore the function and appearance of your smile.