Dental implant healing may be the most underappreciated part of the process, because this is when your body grows bone that binds with the dental implant. We understand that it may also be the hardest for you, because it requires patience, as months and months may have to pass before your implant is fully healed. But when it is fully healed, you will have a new, potentially permanent artificial tooth.
This page provides general information about dental implant healing for people who are considering the dental implant procedure. If you have questions about what to do for your own implants as they heal, please consult the postoperative instructions you were given, or call our office at (310) 275-5325 to talk to Beverly Hills periodontist Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD.
Proper healing of your dental implant will begin after the dental implant placement. Here are some general instructions for the immediate postoperative period.
Wound Care: Press surgical dressing firmly against the wound site to help stop bleeding. Change dressing as necessary. Bleeding should gradually taper off over the first day.
Swelling: Swelling at the implant site is a normal, healthy part of the healing process. It will increase over the first two or three days. Ice applied to the surgical site will help keep swelling under control and provide discomfort relief.
Discomfort: Some level of discomfort is to be expected after the surgical anesthesia wears off. Depending on the nature of your procedure, you may have been prescribed pain medications. Begin taking medications according to instructions before numbness wears off. For some procedures, over-the-counter pain medication may be sufficient.
Diet: You will start out eating soft food for the first day or so after the procedure. You should avoid hot foods and liquids and don’t use a straw for at least 72 hours after your procedure. You can transition gradually to solid food, but avoid foods that break into hard, sharp pieces (like nuts, chips, or popcorn) until your wounds have fully healed. Avoid alcohol for at least 72 hours after your dental implant procedure.
Eat even if you don’t feel hungry. Your body is healing and needs nutrition to heal properly.
Smoking: Remember, smoking can lead to implant failure. Avoid smoking during the postoperative period.
Oral hygiene: Take care of your dental implants, but don’t brush around them the first day when you brush before bed. Don’t rinse your mouth until 24 hours after the procedure. After that, you may begin rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution. You can resume gently brushing around the implant three days after your procedure.
Although we will check the health of your dental implants at every follow-up visit, you should also watch for signs of complications. These may include:
Don’t push, press, or torque your dental implant to test for mobility. Only report mobility that you notice spontaneously when chewing, eating, or cleaning the implant.
As your body heals around the dental implant, it is is also forming new bone that will anchor the dental implant.
This process occurs in three stages:
Simultaneously, your body’s old bone is undergoing remodeling around the new implant. As this occurs, the implant may lose some of its initial stability. This can impact your implant for up to three weeks, but by week four or five, the new bone should be stronger than it was at placement. By eight weeks, your dental implants should have achieved full stability, though the bone will continue to strengthen.
The initial connection between your body and your implant is made by the blood clot material, fibrin, contained in platelets. This fibrous connection is like the initial threads stretched taut across a loom. Among these fibrous strands, cells from the bone marrow congregate on the surface of the implant and become pre-bone cells. Because the initial accumulation of fibrin is random and irregular, so is the woven bone that initially grows around the implant. But these first bone cells secrete a matrix of material that establishes the orientation and structure of the future bone.
As the woven bone becomes established, it is replaced with lamellar bone, bone tissue that is oriented in parallel strands and sheets, giving it greater strength.
As the lamellar bone is formed, the body adjusts it according to the forces on the implant. This improves the bond between the dental implant and the bone so that, ideally, the dental implant will never separate from the bone.
More important from the standpoint of the appearance of your dental implants is the regrowth of the soft tissue around the implant. As with bone tissue, the initial structure of your healing gums around the implant is laid out by fibrin. A basic matrix of soft tissue is built up in the first two weeks after implant placement. The fibrin matrix will be built up and mature over 12 weeks until it reaches something like a final form. Unlike with natural teeth, gum tissue doesn’t attach to dental implants. It grows around the implant. This can make managing gum tissue difficult, which is why a periodontist is a good choice for your dental implant specialist.
If you are looking for a Beverly Hills periodontist to help manage your dental implant recovery, please call (310) 275-5325 today for an appointment with Dr. Nicolas A. Ravon.