Dental Implants: 7 Tips for Healing and Recovery

Dental implants are an incredible, natural-looking way to replace missing or damaged teeth in your smile. As an implant patient, you should know how to care for your new tooth and your body immediately after the implant procedure and while you wait for osseointegration to take place for about three months.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

While exercising is highly beneficial for your health, the best thing you can do right after receiving your implant is to allow your body to slow down and heal. For the first several days after the procedure, make sure to prioritize rest and keep your head elevated as often as possible.

Do not perform any lifting or strenuous activity for about two weeks, and avoid any activities, such as sports, that would put you at risk of getting hit or bumped near your head or jaw, as this can cause post-surgery complications.

2. Apply Ice Packs

It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it is not uncommon to have noticeable swelling and discomfort at the surgical site for the first couple of days. During this time, you should apply ice packs or cold compresses to the site, alternating off and on about every 10 to 20 minutes. Be sure to give your jaw a break to avoid ice burn and allow your face time to rest.

3. Rinse with Salt Water

Oral bacteria can accumulate in your mouth, but the implant site may be too tender to brush or floss normally. A salt water rinse can remove harmful bacteria and accelerate your healing time without irritating or harming the surgical site. To make a saltwater solution, mix one teaspoon of table salt with eight ounces of warm water. Swish the solution in your mouth for about 30 seconds, and repeat every few hours for maximum benefit.

4. Eat Soft Foods

It’s important to stay away from hard, spicy, hot, or chewy foods in the first 48 hours after your surgery to minimize jaw movement and prevent irritation of the incision. After the first couple of days have passed, ease into eating foods that require little to no chewing if possible, and try to stick to soft foods as often as possible until your next appointment.

5. Drink Plenty of Water

Staying well hydrated is crucial to a speedy and healthy recovery, but it’s equally as important to watch what you drink as it is to keep an eye on how much fluid you get. It’s common to feel groggy or fatigued after the procedure, but caffeinated beverages should be avoided, as they are dehydrating and can slow healing.

6. Know What to Avoid

Your dentist will provide a clear guide of what you can and cannot do after your surgery, but as a rule, all dental implant patients should avoid the following during recovery:

  • Smoking.
  • Vigorous rinsing or brushing.
  • Intense exercise.
  • Chewing ice, hard candy, etc.
  • Inflammatory spices and ingredients.
  • Alcohol consumption (for at least two weeks).
  • Drinking through straws.
  • Stomach sleep positions.

Depending on your health and the speed of your recovery, these things can be resumed when it’s healthy to do so. If you have any questions, contact your dentist to make sure it’s okay before resuming any activities while you heal.

7. Practice Good Hygiene

No matter where you are in your recovery journey, keep your mouth as clean as possible. This will not only provide a healthy foundation for your implants, but it will also reduce your risk of developing complications at or near the surgical site.

Always use a soft-bristled brush and rinse with a mild, safe mouthwash approved by your dentist, while your incision heals. Continue to brush and floss as normal, making sure to keep the soft tissues of your mouth clean as well.

Learn More About Dental Implants

Dental implants look and perform just like natural teeth, and a smooth recovery can make the journey from dental imperfections to a fully restored smile an easier process. If you have any questions about the dental implant procedure, recovery, and placement process, call Smart Dental Care to talk to our exceptional dental team today.