The idea of having a dental implant placed in your jaw can be a little scary, as this is a surgical procedure. However, you can rest assured that dental implant surgery is a relatively low-risk procedure and one that many dentists have performed thousands of times. The risk of any side effects is low, and the risk of very serious side effects is even lower. Still, it's nice to know what you should expect after you arrive home from your implant surgery and once the Novocaine starts wearing off. Here's a look.
Expect moderate, but manageable pain.
Some pain is to be expected after dental implant surgery. After all, an incision was made in your gums, and a new material was inserted into your jaw bone. The good news is that this pain is generally manageable. Many people only need to take an NSAID pain reliever, like naproxen, to keep themselves comfortable. If it's safe for you to take them, your dentist may prescribe a few codeine or hydrocodone pills for you to take in the first day or two, but they're not always necessary. You can also ease the pain by sucking on ice or holding ice packs against your cheek.
Expect not to have a new tooth yet.
Some people are surprised to look in the mirror after implant surgery and not see a new tooth where the old one was. That comes later. The first dental implant procedure just involves the insertion of a metal post into your jaw bone. Once that is healed, which takes a couple of months, your dentist will add the crown, or visible portion of the tooth, to the post.
Expect to eat a soft diet.
You may only feel like consuming liquids, like smoothies, for a day or two after implant surgery. However, as soon as you feel comfortable eating soft foods, you can do so. Many people enjoy foods like soft-boiled pasta, soft cheeses, cooked vegetables, and yogurt after their implant surgery. You can slowly add foods that require more chewing back to your diet. Most people are back to eating their normal diet within a month. The general guideline is that if it hurts to eat, don't eat it.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to expect after dental implant surgery. The procedure and recovery period are not as difficult as many people imagine, which is good news.