- If bone grafting is a requirement, a waiting period of four to six months may be necessary before the next process can be done. Grafting is required only if the patient is lacking healthy bone where the implant will be placed.
- If bone grafting is not required, but extractions are needed, there is also a healing period necessary for the gum injury. More recently, dentists can now place the implants at the same time as the extractions so that a double healing time will not be needed. Before the gum tissue is stitched, a healing cap is fastened onto the implant. This can take around a week to heal, depending on the patient’s health.
- A second surgery is then conducted after four to six months have passed. By then, the bone will have integrated with the implant metal. The healing cap is left exposed and the gum surrounding it is stitched. The gum heals around the cap, molding to the shape of the cap.
- Once the gum has completely healed, and osseo-integration has finished, your dentist can remove the healing cap and secure an abutment, where the denture or artificial tooth will be placed.
Implants get their superior durability and support from a process known as Osseo-integration. Osseo-integration is a process when bone cells fuse into the implant surface once they have been placed in the bone. This naturally forms a strong bond, and the implant becomes part of the bone. Osseo-integration occurs slowly over time, the process can take anywhere between two to six months to fully bond.
How to care for your dental implants after surgery
- Any discomfort usually subsides in the first 24 to 48 hours.
- Healing time can be decreased with pain medication and moist heat.
- Consume soft foods for the first initial days and avoid strenuous physical activity.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle strokes to avoid damage to the dental sutures.
- Use a special mouthwash to help eliminate oral bacteria.
- Rinse your mouth using warm salt water a few times a day.
- Once the gums have fully healed, you should care for your implants just like you care for your natural teeth. Brush them at least two times daily and floss at least once.
- Special brushes and dental floss will help you clean the hard-to-reach areas of your implants.
- Be sure to schedule routine dental visits and cleanings.
- With the right care and proper hygiene, your dental implants can last you a lifetime.
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