Dental Implants After Placement: 9 Common Questions Answered

Have you already invested in dental implants to restore your health and beautiful smile, or are you still considering them as a possible option?

Either way, learning some essential information about their procedure and aftercare is important so you can be prepared. 

Dental implants are a great restorative solution for missing teeth and are considered one of the most durable and successful solutions Dentistry offers. In fact, their success rate has been reported at 90–95%

In this article, we selected and answered some of our patients’ most frequently asked questions about dental implant aftercare. 

Through those questions, we’ll help you better understand more about what to do and avoid after your dental implant surgery, sharing some of our professional tips and advice.

So, let’s get started!

What To Eat After Dental Implant Surgery?

Depending on your situation and the time of healing you’ll need, eating habits after the surgery can differ from others. Your doctor will recommend the best approach for you, but here are some general tips to remember. 

You can start eating a few hours after the placement, and for the first couple of days, it’s best to start with liquids or some very soft foods. Some good examples are smoothies, fruit juices, and soups. It would be good to consume them cold to enhance your healing process and avoid hot drinks or foods. 

During the following days and weeks of your recovery, you can start adding more to your diet, but always keep in mind to prefer softer foods. Of course, gradually, you can consume foods higher in protein that require more chewing, like potatoes, eggs, pasta, chicken, etc. 

However, we recommend avoiding excessive chewing during the first days, especially from the side you had the surgery. Hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy foods are best to avoid during the first couple of weeks.

One important thing to avoid also during the first few days is dairy products. You might be thinking, though, why no dairy foods after getting your dental implant, even though they are soft and a good source of protein? 

Well, dairy could irritate your stomach leading to nausea or vomiting. Additionally, there is also the possibility of causing inflammation. So, it’s best to avoid them in the beginning so you can heal without adding any extra discomfort or unpleasant symptoms. 

Can I Exercise After Dental Implant Surgery?

We always encourage our patients to rest the following days after the surgery, giving the body the proper time to heal, so they start feeling better as soon as possible.

However, we understand, especially if you’re working out regularly, that you want to know if and when you’ll be able to go back to your routine. 

Generally, avoiding any exercise or heavy work for at least the first 2-4 days is best and recommended. Bending, lifting, or the increase of the blood flow could lead to more discomfort, pain or bleeding, and swelling.

Once you start feeling better, you can add some exercise to your regular program, but we recommend discussing it with your doctor first.

How To Heal Faster After Dental Implants?

As mentioned before, the healing process for everyone can be different and could take longer for some people. There is also the possibility of dealing with some post-surgery complications. 

The best approach for faster and safer healing is following all your doctor’s recommendations and practicing good oral hygiene. 

In our clinic, we always provide general and individualized post-care instructions to our patients so they can return to their everyday routine as soon as possible with fewer complications. 

Our advice is to take it easy and try to rest, stay hydrated, follow a proper diet (as recommended in question number 2) and avoid some bad habits (like smoking and drinking alcohol). 

You can also try applying some ice packs a few times during the day to reduce any swelling that could be detected in the area but be careful not to overdo it (maximum 15 to 20 minutes at a time) to avoid any tissue damage.

Why Does My Dental Implant Hurt?

Experiencing some discomfort, minor pain, and other symptoms after the surgery are expected, especially if you choose a more conservative treatment. 

Over-the-counter medication and your doctor’s post-surgical recommendations can help you deal with this situation and minimize the pain. 

In our clinic, we use computer-guided implant surgery, which results in a painless experience without swelling and bruising.

Of course, pain is not the same for anyone, so if you feel extreme pain or that something is wrong, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

If you have passed the recovery period and you’re experiencing some pain around your implant or while you chew, there is probably a cause behind it. 

These could include infections, like gum disease or peri-implantitis, loosened implant and bone loss, misalignment between your teeth and implant leading to a bad bite, or some nerve damage.

For each of the referred issues, there are treatment approaches to help you relieve the pain, so contact and visit your dentist to identify the cause and help you recover. 

If you want to discover more about the pain level associated with dental implants and if getting them is actually painful, you can check out our article here

How Often Should Dental Implants Be Checked?

After your surgery, a few appointments are required so your doctor can check and ensure that everything is good and there are no issues involved during the healing process. 

So be prepared for a few follow-ups in the beginning and until no more are required. This usually happens when osseointegration is complete, and the bone is fully joined with the implant. 

Dental implants might be artificial, but they are just like any other of your natural teeth, so they require care. Don’t forget that you should get them checked and cleaned correctly. This can happen during your scheduled routine appointments with your dental hygienist twice a year.

However, depending on the situation, you might also have to get them checked once a year by your dental professional. So you ensure that nothing is involved that could jeopardize your implants. 

Of course, if you feel uncomfortable or that something is not going well with your implants, you should contact your doctor and discuss your situation as soon as possible. 

Can Dental Implants Get Infected?

The short answer here is yes. Peri-implantitis is a pathological condition involving inflammation around your dental implants, specifically of the soft and hard gum tissues, and even the loss of the supporting bone. 

It’s considered a severe inflammatory disease, making it highly important to visit your doctor if you are concerned that something is not right. 

Even though dental implant surgeries are significantly successful, a small percentage of cases has been reported where peri-implantitis was present after surgery, putting the implant at risk. 

Some of the symptoms that this infection includes are swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, difficulty chewing, pain, or the feeling of a loose implant.

If you’re experiencing any of these, we recommend not wasting much time and talking with your doctor immediately so you can prevent more extensive or irreversible damage.

How To Clean Dental Implants After Surgery?

Caring for your implants after surgery and preserving good hygiene will ensure a successful surgery and a long-lasting smile. 

With proper care and routine, you’ll prevent infections and invigorate your healing process. 

Here are some of our professional tips to keep your implants clean after the surgery and later:

  • A few hours post-surgery, you can clean your natural teeth as usual. It would be better to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Please avoid brushing the surgical area for the first few days.
  • A mouthwash could also be added to your routine. Your doctor will likely recommend or prescribe one for you. You can also try a salt water mouth rinse you will prepare at home.
  • Try to avoid chewing and letting food go to the implant area for as long as possible. After the first couple of days, you can rinse your mouth after every meal to keep the area clean. Please do not rinse your mouth on the day of the implant surgery.
  • Keep being careful with your cleaning routine and follow the above for a few several weeks. After that, you can return to the daily care routine you follow for your natural teeth. 
  • Of course, maintaining good habits and practices is the ultimate goal to prevent future infections and preserve a long-lasting result. 
  • Don’t neglect your home care (brush at least twice daily and use dental floss), and visit your hygienist for optimal results.
  • For any other extra special cleaning aids that might be good or you’re curious about trying, you should always advise your dental professional before. 

How Long Does It Take For Dental Implants To Settle?

The timeline for dental implants is not the same for everyone, and it can take a few months to complete all the required steps and recover properly. 

Usually, the placement of the implant can take 1-2 weeks after the initial consultation. However, after the placement, time is valuable so the bone can become strong and an excellent foundation for your new artificial tooth. 

Complete healing and osseointegration might require from 2-6 months or even more in some cases. During this period, your body will take the time it needs so the implant can fully bond with your bone. 

Another step before placing the new artificial teeth is placing the abutment. If done separately, this step will also require a couple of weeks to heal. In the Swedish Dental clinic, for example, this step is not needed.

The final phase is the placement of your artificial tooth (usually a crown) to the abutment. After your bone is ready to support the replacement, your doctor will take some impressions and prepare it. 

Once it’s ready, the placement is straightforward and can be completed in one dental visit.

Can Dental Implants Become Loose?

Unfortunately, there is always a possibility of your dental implant being loose and not staying solid and tight to your gums. 

There are a few reasons why this can happen after the placement, during the recovery, or even later. Some possible causes include:

  • Early infection,
  • Poor placement techniques,
  • Trauma during the surgery, 
  • Deterioration of the surrounding bone,
  • Poor osseointegration, 
  • Gum disease 
  • Bad cleaning habits and poor hygiene  

Some of the symptoms someone might start experiencing include bleeding or recessed gums, discoloration in the area, discomfort or pain, especially while chewing, and the artificial tooth might start moving.

If you start feeling any of the above symptoms or your implant is loosening, you should immediately consult your doctor. There are ways that we can help and offer some quick fixes before it’s too late and you risk your dental implant or your overall health.

Let’s recap!

Dental implants are an excellent option for restoring your smile, and many people invest in this treatment. 

Getting your implants will require some extra steps and appointments, which sometimes might not sound ideal. However, this is the reason why they are so successful and durable.

Having surgery and preparing for aftercare sometimes sounds stressful, and so many questions could be stuck in your mind.

We created this article to answer some of the most common questions we are getting at Swedish Dental Clinic, so we can help you learn more about dental implants and their aftercare. 

If you still have some unanswered questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation appointment and discuss everything with our team of experts.