The Recovery Process After Dental Implants

Introduction

Dr. Hogan often recommends dental implants as a permanent solution to missing or damaged teeth. While the procedure comes highly recommended, and the results are generally superior to other alternatives, it is not without its challenges. It is a complex procedure with long recovery times, often requiring six months to a year or more to complete the process.

The dental implant procedure involves a surgical component and a prosthetic component. Dr. Hogan inserts a prosthetic root that simulates your natural roots. Once the new root fuses with your jawbone, you will receive a crown or replacement tooth that will likely last the remainder of your life.

The treatment involves multiple steps, and your body needs time to heal and recover after each procedure.

 

Key Points

  • Dental implants require a multi-step process with recovery times after each procedure.
  • While each step requires a healing period, it generally does not disrupt your life or require time away from work.
  • Most procedures are completed in the dental office under general anesthesia.
  • Over-the-counter medications are generally adequate to address discomfort.
The Recovery Process After Dental Implants

How Long Does the Dental Implant Process Take to Complete?

The recovery time after dental implant surgery will vary based on the procedure you receive and whether you require pre-surgical work before the implant. While the entire process could take a year or more, it is important to understand a few of the basics when setting recovery expectations:

  • In most cases, you can return to work the same day or the next day following the dental procedure. The waiting periods required between treatments should not disrupt your life or cause you to miss work.
  • Under normal circumstances, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen are adequate to manage any pain or discomfort you experience during the healing periods.
  • The average healing time between the implant and setting the abutment and crown is four to six months.
  • Your oral health and other factors influence the healing and recovery time required.
  • The need for pre-surgical work will extend the time it takes to recover fully.

Each person is different and has varying circumstances that directly influence the time it takes to heal and recover between procedures. The implant procedure is complex, and your oral health, general health, and daily habits impact your experiences. During the initial consultation, Dr. Hogan will discuss your specific case and what you can expect regarding both the procedures required and the expected recovery times between treatments.

Despite individual differences, the following factors directly influence recovery times.

The Need for Pre-surgical Work

Two pre-surgical procedures frequently required before a dental implant include tooth extractions and bone grafting.

Tooth Extraction: If one or more teeth must be removed, it adds a separate procedure to the implant process and can extend the process due to the additional time required for the healing process. While some cases allow for setting the implant on the same day as the tooth extraction, it is uncommon to complete both treatments simultaneously.

In most cases, there is a healing period required after an extraction. Dr. Hogan may choose to insert a bone graft into the tooth socket to hold it open until the procedure to place the dental implant post takes place. Adding this procedure can make setting the implant easier at a future date.

The recovery period between tooth extraction and the implant procedure is typically two to three months.

Bone Grafting: Bone deterioration occurs rapidly after the loss of a tooth, and bone grafting is frequently the best way to strengthen the bone tissue around the site of the absent tooth. When you have an inadequate amount of natural healthy bone to support the implant, a bone grafting procedure may be recommended. The procedure repairs and rebuilds the bone by transplanting healthy bone tissue to the area that needs support. Once the bone is solid and healthy, it can bond with the implant creating a strong foundation for the prosthetic replacement.

For a successful dental implant, the bone tissue must bond with the implant, usually a titanium post, through a process called osseointegration, which fuses the existing bone with the implant. The process creates a firm root for the crown that should last the remainder of your life.

When you require bone grafting, the healing and recovery period could last three months and up to a year. The average waiting period for the new bone tissue to fuse with the natural bone is three to six months. After the bone fuses properly, Dr. Hogan can then set the implant post.

How Long Will Recovery Take After the Implant?

The first step in the implant process is placing a post for the new tooth that serves as the replacement root. In most cases, Dr. Hogan inserts a titanium post into the jawbone. After the outpatient procedure, the bone must fuse with the titanium post creating a robust support system for the new tooth or crown.

After the implant, the body requires time for this fusion (the osseointegration process). Successful integration generally takes between three and six months. However, it is not uncommon to take up to a year.

What is the Recovery Period Between the Abutment and the Crown?

After the implant heals, Dr. Hogan will set the abutment, which is the piece that attaches the crown to the titanium root. The healing period between the abutment and crown placement is generally two weeks.

The Osseointegration Process

The success of dental implants relies primarily on the osseointegration process. Osseointegration is the term used to describe the fusion of natural bone with a metal implant. Whether a limb or a tooth, most prosthetics require osseointegration for a successful procedure.

The process must occur naturally, and there is not currently a way to expedite the bonding.

Habits That Can Slow Recovery

Getting adequate rest, drinking enough water, and healthy eating could speed the osseointegration process because these habits help your body function optimally. Some behaviors can slow down or even prevent osseointegration from occurring. A few of these include the following:

Use of tobacco: Smoking, dipping, and vaping all involve tobacco use, which reduces oxygen flow to bones and tissue and is one of the leading causes of implant failure.

Alcohol use in the first month after surgery: Alcohol can have adverse interactions with prescribed medications immediately following surgery. It also dries out your mouth, which slows the healing process.

Poor oral hygiene: Brushing, flossing, and dental checkups improve your oral health and reduce bacteria growth that can impede the osseointegration process.

Biting and chewing hard objects or foods: Eating hard candy, chewing ice, biting your nails, and using your teeth as tools are all habits that can slow healing. Hard objects can damage your enamel and put unnecessary pressure on the implant, cause irritation, and hinder the body’s natural ability to heal.

Drinking through a straw: The body increases blood flow to the implant area immediately after the procedure. Drinking through a straw creates suction that can pull at and damage the tissue around the implant.

Recovery looks different for everyone. However, there are preemptive things you can do to speed up the healing and recovery process.

What To Expect During the Recovery Process?

Whether you immediately receive an implant or need pre-surgical treatments, each step in the process involves outpatient procedures using local anesthetics.

Dr. Hogan typically uses stitches that dissolve and do not need removal. Common symptoms after a procedure include localized swelling of the gum area, bruising near the site, discomfort for a few days, and minor bleeding. In most cases, you will use over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to manage any soreness, and you will not need to take time off from work after each procedure.

The process can take over a year from start to finish due to the healing and recovery periods required between each procedure.

 

FAQs

Call for an Appointment

If you are ready to explore ways to rejuvenate your smile, or you just need a cleaning and x-rays, call today for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment. Dr. Kevin Hogan graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry and has over 40 years of experience. He completed continuing education at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, a world-renowned comprehensive and aesthetic dentistry center. He has also finished extensive coursework with the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and lectured at both North Carolina and Emory University.

He is known for his artistic skill, professionalism, and ability to find the right solution for an array of dental challenges. Dr. Kevin Hogan is a cosmetic and restorative dentist serving patients in Mt. Pleasant South Carolina and the greater Charleston, SC areas.

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Cosmetic Dentist – Dr. Kevin Hogan
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Mount Pleasant, SC 29466

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