Have you undergone a dental implant procedure at Smile Solutions of Maine in Waterville or Winthrop, Maine? It’s important to follow our post-op care instructions, so your mouth can heal properly without complications.

Why Is Proper Care Essential After Your Dental Implant Placement?

We want you to recover and heal properly. That’s why we give you instructions on what you can eat and drink following the procedure. We also give you a guide for proper oral hygiene. When you take good care of your new implant, you shouldn’t have to worry about infections or poor healing.

How Long Does It Take for the Dental Implant to Fully Heal?

In most cases, the complete healing process takes four to six months. After that, a crown can be placed on the abutment. In cases where bone grafting is required after an extraction the entire process can take 6-8 months.

What to Expect After Your Dental Implant Placement

There is likely to be some bleeding after your dental implant surgery. The bleeding may last for several hours. The best way to deal with bleeding is by placing a swab of clean dental gauze on the implant site and biting down gently for up to an hour. Rest, and keep your head elevated. You may continue to experience a little bleeding over the next few days.

You might also experience swelling during the first week following your oral surgery. It may be at its worst after 24 hours have passed. Swelling is a natural reaction. You can apply ice packs to the outside of your face to control the swelling during the first two days. Apply for 20 minutes, take it off for 20 minutes, and reapply for another 20 minutes. After the second day following your dental implant procedure, switch from ice to warm, moist compresses, such as a washcloth dampened with warm water. 

Once the anesthetic wears off, you will probably experience some pain and discomfort from the implant surgery. We recommend taking pain medication before the anesthetic wears off. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as Ibuprofen, are good. 

How to Care for Your Mouth After Dental Implant Surgery

Until the local anesthetic wears off, it’s best to stick to liquids or soft foods that are not hot, such as applesauce, jello, and pudding. Do not use a straw, as the suction could dislodge the blood clot that forms on the site as a natural part of healing. When the numbness wears off, you can eat solid foods again, but do not chew on or near the surgical site. It’s best to avoid hot liquids and foods as well as spicy food for the first few days.

Good oral hygiene is vital to proper healing. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your mouth after each meal starting the day after your surgery. Also, clean your mouth at bedtime. Rinsing your mouth gently with a warm saltwater solution is another good way to help prevent infection and reduce swelling, but do not rinse your mouth the day of the surgery. Be very gentle around the surgical site. If bleeding occurs, you can use the gauze again.

For the first 48 hours, reduce your physical activity to the bare minimum. Your body needs rest as it works hard to heal your mouth. You may resume regular activity after 48 hours.

Dental Implant Healing Timeline

Why does it take four to six months for your dental implant to heal? During this time, your mouth is recovering from the surgery, and the implant is also fusing with your jawbone. Integration into your jaw takes time. When it is fully integrated, your tooth implant will be very sturdy and long-lasting.

This healing timeline could take even longer if you don’t take proper care of your mouth during the initial healing period. The most common risks that could cause the implant to fail or extend your healing time include biting down too hard on the implant area, not cleaning your mouth out carefully throughout the healing process, smoking, and too much strenuous exercise or other activity for the first two or three days after the surgery.

Questions About Dental Implant Aftercare?

If you have any questions or concerns following your dental implant surgery, please give us a call at Smile Solutions of Maine in Waterville or Winthrop. We will do everything we can to answer your questions and help you recover properly so your dental implant can be successful.