Dental implants are widely considered to be the most effective tooth replacement option in dentistry today. As with any surgery, it is important to know what to expect during your recovery. This will ensure you have necessary items on hand and know when you should contact a medical professional. Swelling after dental implant surgery typically subsides within two to three days. Your doctor will provide detailed post-operative instructions, including ways to minimize this side effect. Tips include keeping your head elevated, reducing activity, and taking anti-inflammatory medications.
Is Swelling Normal?
Swelling is part of the body’s natural response to injury. You may not equate a surgical procedure with injury, however, it is a controlled form of trauma. In order to place dental implants, your surgeon must administer injections, create incisions, and place sutures. Simply stated, swelling is a buildup of fluid in the tissues. It is not dangerous and is actually a normal aspect of the healing process. Like swelling, bruising is completely normal during healing. However, some patients tend to bruise easier than others.
How Much Swelling to Expect
The extent of swelling each individual will experience depends on several factors. First, your body’s reaction is contingent upon the surgical procedure itself. For example, someone who is receiving six dental implants will probably experience more inflammation and discoloration than a patient who is having a single implant placed.
Swelling is part of the body’s natural response to injury. It is not dangerous and is actually a normal aspect of the healing process.
It is not uncommon to experience swelling around the mouth, jaws, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face following dental implant surgery. Following the procedure, swelling typically reaches its peak around the second or third day before gradually diminishing. However, it can take up to several days for the inflammation to completely subside.
Common Signs of Infection
Knowing what to expect can help you avoid post-operative complications and minimize your risk of infection. It is important to be aware of any changes that take place during your recovery. The simplest way to do this is to evaluate the swelling and level of discomfort you experience after the procedure.
Swelling should substantially subside for most patients by the third day. Once the swelling begins to go down, it should not increase again. Therefore, if you notice swelling after the initial inflammation has subsided, it could indicate an infection. If you are experiencing any symptoms which indicate infection following your oral surgery, contact your doctor right away. In many cases, they will simply prescribe antibiotics to ensure proper healing.
Ways to Reduce Swelling
While swelling is common during recovery after oral surgery, there are ways to minimize the effect. Once you return home following your procedure, the doctor may recommend applying a cold compress or an ice pack to the face or jaw for 20 minutes, then removing it for another 20 minutes. Continue this process, on and off, as much as possible during the first 24 hours, as this is the most crucial time frame. You can continue icing the site for the next two days. However, after 72 hours, a cold compress will not offer any additional benefit. Moist heat is often recommended in the following days.
Keeping your head elevated following the placement of dental implants is important. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, as well as any prescribed medications. These will not only help reduce swelling but also alleviate any discomfort, as well.
Experience a Comfortable Recovery
No matter what methods you use to combat swelling, bruising, and other side effects after dental implant surgery, be sure to closely follow the guidelines provided by your dentist or surgeon. By doing so, you can give yourself the best chance for optimal healing and a quick recovery.