The process of getting dental implants is more complicated than that of traditional bridges or dentures, but the results are well worth your time. Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, and because they're the only solution for replacing the roots of missing teeth, you'll have a more stable restoration, as well as protection against jaw bone loss. Implants must be surgically placed into the jaw, and as with any surgery, there is some healing time needed afterwards. Here's what you need to know about typical dental implant healing time.
Understanding the Dental Implant Process
To understand how long it takes for dental implants to heal, you first need to understand how the process of getting dental implants works.
While certain implant-based restorations can be completed in a single visit, a standard implant procedure requires a few appointments to complete. The implant post, the prosthesis (a crown, bridge, or denture), and the abutment that attaches the two are the three components of an implant-based restoration, and each of these is placed at a different time.
The process begins with the placement of the dental implant, followed by the abutment. Finally, the prosthesis is secured to the abutment and your implant-based restoration is complete.
Healing From Dental Implant Surgery
Patients are often pleasantly surprised to learn that a dental implant procedure has an easier recovery than they expected. Healing from dental implant surgery is usually less uncomfortable than recovering from a surgical tooth extraction. If your job isn't physically demanding, you should be able to return to work the next day; you may experience some bruising, inflammation, and tenderness, but this is easily treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses.
Follow your aftercare instructions to expedite your healing time. Avoid eating hard, chewy, crunchy, or spicy foods that may interfere with healing or irritate the implant site, as well as intense workouts or activities. After two weeks, you should be able to resume your normal routine.
While the incision where your implant was placed will fully recover in a few weeks, the healing process going on underneath the gum is even more important. This is known as osseointegration, and it occurs when your jawbone and dental implants fuse together to form a strong foundation for your bridge, denture, or crown.
Osseointegration takes several months to complete, but it's critical not to rush into the next step of the process because it can mean the difference between a successful dental implant restoration and one that fails or suffers complications.
Abutments and Restorations
After we've established that osseointegration was successful, your abutments will be attached to the implants. Because a small incision is required to access your dental implant, you will need to wait another two weeks for your gums to heal before getting your final restoration.