If you are getting a dental implant, your dentist should speak to you about what you can expect before the procedure, during, and after. Unfortunately, dentists and patients do not always discuss aftercare fully, often because the patient is most concerned with the pre-procedure requirements and what will happen during the procedure. This means many aspects of the post-procedure healing process come as a surprise to some patients. Whether you are considering getting an implant or already have one and are at home recovering, below are some normal things you should be aware of.
Swelling Is Often Intense
Depending on the type of implant you get, swelling can be intense and quite noticeable. For example, if you have an implant on your upper front teeth, you can expect your upper lip to swell enough to fully cover your bottom lip. The swelling is completely normal, but you can do a few things to relieve it. Putting ice wrapped in a cloth on the swelling several times a day can help keep it under control. Additionally, you may want to keep your lips moisturized with lip balm so they do not crack and bleed. Ibuprofen may also be safe to take to reduce swelling, but you should discuss it with your dentist.
You May Have Some Debris In Your Mouth
Many implants involve a bone graft either when the dentist places the implant or at a separate appointment before the implant placement. Often, the bone graft is made up of tiny pieces of human, animal, or synthetic material that fuse together during the healing process. While your gums heal, it is normal for small amounts of these pieces to loosen on their own. Usually, this is not something to be concerned about, but if you experience large chunks, you should tell your dentist.
It is also worth noting that the materials can affect the gums at other places, not only through the incision. This may cause small white bumps to form before the graft material falls out. Again, this is not usually something to be concerned about, but if it happens in large amounts or if it is painful, you should let your dentist know it is happening. Keep in mind this is only pertinent to grafts that use fused bone pieces. If you have a large graft, talk with your dentist immediately if the graft begins to show.
Pain Usually Lasts Two Days
Because an implant is a surgical procedure, it is normal to have pain afterward, which can last two days or a little longer. The pain is usually manageable with over-the-counter painkillers, although your dentist may prescribe stronger pain medication for some larger or more invasive implants. You should keep track of your pain levels for the first two days. The day after your procedure you should experience the highest levels of pain, and then your pain should decrease after that. If you continue feeling the same level of pain or if your pain increases after the second day, you should call your dentist.
The Healing Process Can Last Four Months
After your implant is placed, you will go through two major healing processes. First, your gums will heal around your implant. This can take one to two weeks. You will usually have stitches during this period, you may experience a little discomfort. After your gums heal, you will need another four months for the bone to integrate the implant. During this time, you should not put pressure on the implant.
If you have any questions about healing after dental implants, you should feel free to call your dentist and ask.