A long-term solution to missing or broken teeth, full-arch dental implants can improve your quality of life and self-confidence. From initial consultation to the placement of permanent teeth, the process usually takes about three to five months, and a lot of that includes time to heal.
If you’re considering full-arch dental implants, know that recovery time can vary from person to person and depends on several factors.
What to expect after surgery
A full-arch dental implant procedure is relatively simple. However, it’s still a surgery, so it takes time to recover fully.
The implant process happens in stages. After extracting your teeth, your doctor places your provisional, or temporary, teeth using small metal rods inserted through the gums and into the jawbone. Most people go to work the day after this procedure, although to allow for full healing, your final teeth won’t be placed for about three months.
For the first two days after surgery, you can expect to experience some pain, swelling and bleeding. Over-the-counter medication can help relieve the pain, and discomfort should subside after day three. The stitches in your gums will dissolve within a few days.
You’ll likely have to eat soft foods for a week to 10 days. Your doctor will provide more detailed instructions, and it’s important to follow them to shorten your recovery time and lower your risk of infection.
What affects recovery time
Because everyone’s situation is different, it’s difficult to estimate recovery time. Here are a few things that can impact post-surgery healing:
Number of teeth extracted. Full-arch dental implants typically replace all of your upper and lower teeth. However, there may be exceptions, and that affects healing time.
Extent of bone grafting. Most Esteem patients require bone grafting and/or grinding, which can extend recovery time.
Dental health. The more dental issues you have before the surgery, the more time you may need to heal.
Pre- and post-surgery habits. Unhealthy choices, such as smoking, poor oral hygiene or lack of sleep, can prolong recovery.
Tips for a quick recovery
Be sure to follow all post-op instructions provided by your doctor. A sample list:
Eat soft foods
Practice good oral hygiene, including normal brushing within 24 hours of the procedure
Apply ice for swelling
Stop smoking for at least several weeks
Take pain medicine as prescribed
Watch for fever, infection or swelling that lasts more than a couple of days
Go to your scheduled follow-up appointments
Transformation that can last a lifetime
When you consider that full-arch dental implants last for decades, a few days of discomfort following the procedure seems like a small price to pay. Generally speaking, most people feel back to normal within three days to a week post-op, and many return to work the day after.
That said, everyone heals at different rates. But if you follow your doctor’s instructions and listen to your body, you can recover swiftly and begin enjoying your new smile.