Lost teeth can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life. Not only can they affect someone’s smile, but they can restrict diet and speech while having continuously negative consequences on oral health. If you need to replace one or more missing teeth, the ideal option is one that most closely replicates the strength, stability, and appearance of natural teeth. For many patients, this means using dental implants to fully restore a smile.
Implants provide virtually all of the benefits of natural teeth, but the installation process is also more involved than alternative tooth replacement options. Namely, implants must successfully fuse with surrounding soft tissues and bone. With a skilled oral surgeon and proper hygiene throughout recovery, most patients should expect fantastic results. Nevertheless, we encourage our Boston patients to learn as much as they can of the implant process, including the months-long recovery.
Like any oral surgery, implants tend to result in a few post-surgical side effects. For most patients, the effects are surprisingly mild and do not require more than a day or two of full rest. Still, each procedure is different and can result in varying degrees of the following:
Typically, patients will look and feel significantly better within 10 to 14 days, and most patients will return to most of their normal activities even before that. After two weeks, evidence of implant surgery will be virtually gone, allowing patients to continue their day-to-day activities without any problem or concern. Still, it is important for patients to remember that their tissues are still healing around the implants, and as such, they should be extra vigilant in their hygiene and dietary habits.
Although patients may feel fine soon after implant surgery, it actually takes months for the implants to fuse with surrounding bone tissue. This process is called osseointegration, and it is a necessary step in order for implants to reliably function like the roots of real teeth. The exact timeline for osseointegration varies, depending on a patient’s prior oral health and hygiene during recovery. In most cases, patients can expect their implants to fully integrate within three to six months, although some patients may need longer if they have slower healing or previously needed to undergo a bone graft.
Recovery and osseointegration is a crucial time for dental implants, and it is often a patient’s actions during this time that determine whether implants fail or succeed. Keep the following points in mind in order to improve your chances of success:
Remaining in touch with your dentist is equally important when it comes to making a full, safe recovery. Contact us with any questions or concerns regarding a recent implant procedure, or if you want to schedule a consultation for a new restorative or cosmetic treatment.