Dental Implants FAQs > Treatment Timeline
By: Kelsey Blair
Anyone considering dental implant surgery needs to have an idea of how long this process might take before they start taking steps towards scheduling their surgery. As with most surgical procedures, the time it takes to progress from consultation, through treatment, to healing is variable. Depending on your overall oral health, the type of surgery required and the possible need for tooth extractions or grafting before dental implant surgery can differ.
Although individual differences mean we can’t give you a set timeline, we can provide an overview of the process and give you an idea of what to expect. The process could take anywhere from five months to one year. For a timeline tailored to your mouth, schedule a free consultation with EON Clinics.
1. How Will I Know What to Expect From a Dental Implant Procedure?
Initial consultations typically take 45 to 60 minutes and provide you with the opportunity to discuss your options, ask any questions about the dental implant procedure, and find out if it’s right for you. The doctor and treatment coordinator you meet with will ask questions about your overall health and discuss your dental needs. EON Clinics also offers you a free 3D CT scan so that we can determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants and create a health plan tailored to your needs.
2. What is the Second Step in the Implant Journey?
After your consultation, if you decide you would like to move forward with the treatment plan, we often ask our patients to come in for a pre-surgical appointment, where we take impressions of your teeth and jaw one to two weeks after the initial consultation. This appointment also acts as another opportunity to address any concerns and discuss what to expect post-surgery.
3. How Long After a Extraction Can I Get an Implant?
Tooth extraction is not always necessary, but is in some cases. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether this part of the procedure will be necessary for you. Tooth extraction itself can vary between cases. Those with healthy bone may be able to receive their implant on the same day their natural tooth is removed. However, this is not always possible for patients that suffer bone loss or infection. In these instances, bone grafting may be required.
4. Will I Need to Have a Bone Graft Prior to Surgery?
Bone grafting may be required not only if a tooth is extracted as above, but also if you have had a missing tooth for a while. Bone grafting ensures there is a good foundation of bone available for your implant to adhere to, so this stage is usually essential for anyone with missing teeth. Four months of healing time is standard between bone grafting and implant surgery.
5. What Do I Need to Know Post-Surgery?
After the above preparation is complete, we’ll schedule you for implant surgery. This surgery involves inserting implants into your bone. Implants may be submerged under the gum or non-submerged, depending on what is right for you.
- DO NOT blow your nose. If you have to sneeze, please do so with your mouth open to avoid any pressure on the sinus area.
- DO NOT smoke. Regardless whether it’s tobacco, cannabis, or smokeless tobacco products, it is still not safe. Smoking or chewing tobacco products causes extreme difficulty healing and increases the failure rate for dental implants.
- DO NOT lift or pull up on your lips to look at your stitches. Doing this may cause some tearing or irritation of the gums.
- DO NOT drink liquids through a straw.
- DO NOT eat any foods that you can’t cut with the side of your fork. Due to the sensitivity of your gums, eating anything too hard can cause pain and/or complications from chewing.
- Avoid very hot foods.
- Apply a cold compress to the sides of the face to help relieve pressure.
- Use a mouth rinse of half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of baking soda, and eight ounces of water held in your mouth for two to three minutes every hour to help your mouth feel more comfortable.
It is imperative you take any antibiotics and/or pain medicine prescribed to you. Please be warned you may experience some bleeding from the nose. This is not uncommon and should pass quickly. You may also be instructed to use an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Please use the mouth rinse as instructed.
Please make sure to get in contact with your prosthodontist/dentist if you experience any of the following:
- Uncontrollable pain
- Excessive or severe bleeding
- Excessive swelling occurring a few days after your procedure
- Any allergic reactions to the medicine
6. How Long Will the Recovery Process Take?
Anyone looking into dental implant surgery is bound to wonder how long the recovery process will take and how the surgery will affect them. We are here to help you plan for your recovery and advise you on what to do to aid the healing process.
There is no set recovery time that will apply to all dental implant patients, as every surgery is impacted by the unique conditions of each patient. Recovery time can be affected by the following:
- How many implants you receive—is it just a single dental implant, multiple implants, or implants for a full jaw or an entire mouth?
- Whether you have healthy bone for your implants to bond to or you require bone grafting.
- Individual healing time and differences.
- Individual healing time and differences.
- Following all instructions per your treatment plan.
7. What is Considered a Simple Procedure?
If your surgery replaces just a single tooth and if you have healthy bone and grafting is not required, this is a simple procedure and you are likely to experience minimal discomfort. In fact, other than some minor bruising and swelling, you should have an easy recovery. The best thing to do after a simple procedure is to rest, eat only soft food for a few days, and gently brush your teeth.
8. What is Considered a Moderate Procedure?
The majority of patients undergo moderate procedures, and they will experience some bruising, swelling, and slight discomfort after their dental implant surgery. Luckily, medication is available to help with pain, and the healing process should be well on its way after about seven days. Seven to ten days in, you might consider eating a more normal diet that excludes tough foods.
9. What is Considered a Difficult Procedure?
Some patients may find that recovery takes longer due to the severity of their surgery, and/or personal healing times. For patients that experience a difficult surgery, we advise eating only soft food for 6 weeks after surgery, as well as following all of the recommendations above.
10. How Can I Aid the Healing Process?
There are numerous ways to help the healing process and give your body the best possible chance of a quick recovery. Here are a few guidelines to help aid your recovery.
- Stop smoking for at least a week post-surgery, and minimize in the weeks after.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Eat healthy, nutritious, soft food. You can continue eating healthy fruits and vegetables by blending them into smoothies.
- Regularly brush your teeth and implants gently.
- Avoid hot foods or drinks.
- Do not drink with a straw until your mouth has healed.
- Movement—bending and quickly standing can increase bleeding and cause discomfort. Spend the first day of your recovery resting, in bed, or sitting still.
- Give yourself at least four days to recover before exercising.
11. What is the Final Stage of the Implant Procedure?
The final stage of your dental implant procedure is where the abutments and final crown will be added to your implants. After this appointment, you will be able to eat all of your favorite foods again.
What Types of Foods Can You Eat After Dental Implant Surgery?
It doesn’t take long to get back on your feet after dental implant surgery, but it’s wise to allow your mouth to heal before returning to your usual diet. Our patients regularly ask questions related to what food they can and can’t eat after surgery. We're here to help you plan some simple, post-surgery recovery meals that will keep you sustained and won’t delay healing.
1. What Can I Drink After Surgery?
It is essential that you keep hydrated while healing takes place. Choose cool fluids after surgery, such as water, juice, cool tea, or coffee. Hot drinks should be avoided. Just as important as what you drink is how you drink it. Whatever you choose to drink, don’t use a straw. The vacuum caused by sucking when using a straw can worsen bleeding.
2. What Kinds of Foods Can I Eat After Surgery?
After surgery, tightness in your jaw muscles may make eating a challenge initially. In addition to hot drinks, you should also avoid hot foods. Try to choose nutritious foods that will aid your healing and stick to a soft diet that doesn’t require much chewing for the first 10 days to two weeks after surgery. Consider using a blender to purée foods and chop everything into small, manageable pieces.
3. Is There a Suggested Meal Plan?
Below are suggestions of simple meals that may work well for you post-surgery.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Post-surgery, you can start your day with oatmeal, yogurt, and scrambled eggs. These all make great breakfast-time meals and are soft and easy to eat.
For a light lunch consider soft bread, cottage cheese or cream cheese, and applesauce. Try using a blender to make a vegetable and fruit smoothie to get some vitamins and minerals into your diet.
Mashed potatoes and very finely chopped fish or soft meats, such as chicken, can work well at dinner time.
If you’re in need of a post-surgery treat, pudding can be ideal, as it is soft, cool, and easy to manage. Whatever you decide to eat or drink during this time, keep it simple and ensure you rest. Drink plenty of fluids and choose soft foods to allow your mouth to heal.
4. What Can I Expect After Healing is Complete?
Although it is essential you stick to soft foods for this short healing period, the wait will be worth it. Once your mouth has fully healed, you’re likely to find you can eat a wider range of foods than you could before, particularly if you were experiencing difficulty eating prior to surgery. However, it is important that you avoid tough foods such as steak until after the final stage of your implant procedure.
Always bear in mind that the rate of healing varies on an individual basis. This blog post offers guidelines, but your doctor can offer advice tailored to you. If you’re still unsure or have any further questions about caring for your mouth after dental implant surgery, simply get in touch with the EON Clinics team by calling 844-365-7645. Your doctor will be able to give you step by step instructions on how to care for your mouth throughout the healing period.