By: Ashley Walker
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 surgery to healing is variable. Depending on your overall health, the severity of surgery required and the possible need for tooth extractions or grafting before dental implant surgery differs.
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 5 months to one year. For a timeline tailored to you, get in touch with your doctor or schedule a free consultation with EON Clinics.
Initial consultations provide you with the opportunity to discuss your options, ask any questions about dental implant surgery, and find out whether it’s right for you. The professional you meet with will ask questions about your overall health and you will 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 you.
2. Pre-Surgical Appointment
We often ask our patients to come in for a pre-surgical appointment, where we take impressions of your teeth and jaw. This appointment also acts as another opportunity to address any concerns and discuss what to expect post-surgery.
3. Tooth Extraction
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. Bone Grafting
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 essential for anyone with missing teeth. Four months of healing time is standard between bone grafting and implant surgery.
5. Implant Surgery
After the above preparation is complete, we’ll schedule you for implant surgery. This surgery involves fixing your implants into your bone. Implants will either 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 if 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; this, in turn, 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.
-It is imperative you take any antibiotics/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 mouthrinse, please use the mouthrinse as instructed.
-AVOID really hot foods. It is suggested to apply a cold compress to the sides of the face to relieve any pressure.
-A mouth rinse of ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and 8 ounces of water held in your mouth for 2-3 minutes every hour may assist in making your mouth more comfortable.
Please make sure to get in contact with your prosthodontist/dentist if you experience…
-Excessive or severe bleeding
-Excessive swelling occurring a few days after your procedure
-Any allergic reactions to the medicine
6. Recovery Time
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 to teach you how 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 individual differences. Recovery time can be affected by the following:
- How many teeth you have implanted—are you receiving a single dental implant, multiple teeth or a whole jaw set of teeth?
- Whether your surgery requires bone or soft tissue grafting.
- Whether you have healthy bone for your implants to bond to.
- Individual healing time and differences.
If your surgery replaces just a single tooth, if you have healthy bone, and grafting is not required, 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.
The majority of patients will experience some bruising, swelling and 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 7 days. 7-10 days in, you might consider moving back towards your normal diet.
Some patients may find that recovery takes longer. For patients that experience difficult surgery, eating only soft food for 6 weeks after surgery is sometimes recommended.
How can I help 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 or minimize smoking for at least a week post-surgery.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Eat healthy, nutritious, soft food. Blending food can allow you to continue eating healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Regularly brush your teeth and implants.
- 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 4 days to recover before exercising.
Ask Your Doctor
Your dental implants doctors will have their own insight into how much recovery time you might need. With knowledge of your medical background and the specifics of your procedure, your doctor is likely to give you a more accurate prediction as to when you’ll be back on your feet. At EON Clinics, we encourage you to discuss your procedure with your doctor and are happy to answer any questions. Simply get in touch with our team to find out more about whether dental implants are right for you, or to discuss the recovery process in more detail.
7. Uncovery Appointment
An uncovery appointment is only necessary if the implants were submerged into your gums. At this appointment, a healing cap will be added.
8. Re-Take Impressions
Impressions of your new smile will be taken again.
9. Abutment and Crown Placement
This is the final stage of your dental implant procedure, where the abutment and final crown will be added to your implants. After this appointment, you will be able to show of your beautiful new smile.
10. Opportunity for same day treatment
If you’re in a hurry to share your smile, contact your dental implants doctor. EON Clinics can offer single-day procedures to some patients.
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.
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 sucking motion caused when using a straw can worsen bleeding.
After surgery, tightness in your jaw muscles may make eating a challenge. Avoid hot food, as well as hot drinks as mentioned above. Try to choose nutritious food that will aid your healing, and stick to a soft diet that doesn’t require 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.
Suggested Meal Plan
The 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 apple sauce. 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 dinnertime.
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.
Avoid smoking for at least the first few days after surgery, as smoking can delay healing.
Once 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.
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 queries about caring for your mouth after dental implant surgery, simply get in touch with the EON Clinics team. Your doctor will be able to give you step by step instructions on how to care for your mouth throughout the healing period.