Healing After a Dental Implant (Podcast)
Dr. Nammy Patel from Green Dentistry talks with John Maher about dental implants. She talks about what risk factors can cause the implant to fail. Then, she covers how long healing takes and she explains what happens as the body integrates the new implant.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, Founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health, and author of the best-selling book, Age With Style: Guide To A Youthful Smile & Healthy Living. Today, our topic is healing after a dental implant. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi, John. Thank you for having me.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Dental Implant?
John: Sure. So, Dr. Nammy, how long does it take for a dental implant, the whole process from start to finish?
Dr. Nammy: So, usually, for a dental implant process requires an extraction of the tooth first and then some healing time and then placement of an implant and some healing time. So, I would say about six months or so is what we’re really looking at for the complete process. If everything goes really well between the extraction and placement of the implant, which can be in about three months and then three months later, we can restore it with a beautiful crown on top, for sure.
What to Expect After Having a Dental Implant Placed
John: Okay. So, tell us a little bit more about what a patient can expect after they’ve had a dental implant placed and in terms of the days and weeks following that procedure and what they can expect.
Dr. Nammy: So, the first day after a dental implant is placed, typically, a soreness is really expected and some swelling for about three days or so. It’s very normal. It’s actually not that painful. Over-the-counter Ibuprofen or something along those lines is perfect. And then after about a week, you really don’t really notice that it’s in your mouth.
Your body’s going to be doing the integration process. It’s kind of like getting a titanium hip, your body just needs some time to heal and make it part of its own. But the first week is the most challenging, just to make sure the first three days, making sure that the swelling goes down, the discomfort is managed. And then over a period of time, your body just does its thing and you really don’t even notice that you’re having the implant integrating into your body.
And then finally, when the crown goes on top, it’s like having a new tooth and it’s fantastic because you don’t have to worry about taking something in and out or anything like that. You’ve got a solid tooth that is really strong, that’s going to be able to take a lot of the biting forces, and it’s going to be able to help you chew better, makes you look good, makes you feel good, and it’s fantastic.
What Does the Implant Feel Like Before You Get the Crown?
John: What is it that I have in my mouth when the implant is done and before I get that crown placed on top? Do I have just like sort of a metal post in my mouth? What does that look like and feel like?
Dr. Nammy: Well, we try to put something else so that there is a metal post inside, but you can’t really see it. So, what we like to do is put maybe a temporary partial, a removable denture in there, so you take that in and out. Or maybe have some Invisalign looking trays with a tooth there, so that way you can go on in public and nobody has to know you’re getting any dental work done or anything like that. And also cosmetically, it feels really good and it looks really good.
What to Avoid After Getting a Dental Implant
John: And is there anything that patients should avoid after having a dental implant, and if so, how long should they be avoiding that?
Dr. Nammy: Usually, I tell my patients after actually having the implants for a couple of days, avoid exercising, avoid any strenuous activities or anything like that. Smoking for sure, anything that causes dry mouth we want to avoid, even vaping is really concerning or smoking marijuana, anything like that. We just want them to take it easy for the first week or so, just to allow the body to heal itself and to really start integrating this implant as part of the body.
John: So, then when you say to avoid having dry mouth and avoid a lot of exertion and exercising, is that just anything that would cause you to be panting and breathing out heavily, in and out of your mouth, is that what people should avoid?
Dr. Nammy: Anything that stresses your body out, basically. Smoking, obviously causes dry mouth, which causes overgrowth of bacteria and can cause an infection. The thing about the exercise and actually having strenuous activity is that we want the resources that your body has to go into healing. So, if you exercise and are active, your body’s not going to go ahead and use a resource for healing, it’s going to expend that energy for you to work out.
Signs of Implant Failure
John: Okay. Is there a risk of implant failure and what signs of implant failure should patients be aware of that they might be needing to watch for?
Dr. Nammy: So, a few people that I’ve seen implant failure is going to be from patients who smoke, number one. Number two is having osteoporosis. The third one that I really find with implant failure is if it’s not placed properly. So, I highly recommend to everyone listening that you have it placed by an oral surgeon, have a good brand, and make sure that you’re taking your time to let it heal, makie sure there’s a good quality crown on there. Those are the big things that I would really say, because the majority of the time, if they’re failing, it’s for one of these reasons.
Why Do You Recommend Implants Over Dentures?
John: Can you just talk a little bit and sum it up in terms of the implants and why you recommend them over other types of things like dentures?
Dr. Nammy: Sure. So, with implants, the reason I love them versus dentures, or actually, there’s something called implant retained dentures, which was really fantastic as well, but the main reason that I like implants, it’s like planting a new tooth. So, when you’re planting a new tooth, what happens is that you’re able to chew up and down, side to side, and it actually mimics your natural tooth structure, which is wonderful.
If you do something like a bridge, where there’s no tooth in the middle and there’s two teeth on the side, it’s good at taking the up and down forces, but it can’t do the side to side. And so, what happens with bridges is they fail and when they fail, they fail you miserably. And now instead of having a problem with one tooth, now you have a problem with three teeth.
So, with implants, you’re really preserving the natural tooth structure of the rest of the mouth, number one. Number two, you’re planting a whole new tooth in there, as if you’ve never lost a tooth. Was that wonderful? It’s like never aging. I’d like that. And it really helps you be functional, be able to chew whatever you want. With bridges, you have to be a little concerned about how hard you eat, it can break the porcelain off or something along those lines. But you’re able to chew normally. It’s like having a new tooth. It’s really awesome.
Contact Green Dentistry to Talk About Implants Today
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure, John.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 915-7730.