You’ve done the research, you’ve talked with your dentist, and you now have some awesome dental implants and an outstanding smile. Now that it’s time to recover, though, you might be wondering about side effects and when you’ll heal entirely.
How Dental Implants Are Fitted
Dental implants involve titanium screws going down into your jawbone to help a dental crown settle into your mouth. Over time, as the implant heals, the screws will eventually fuse to your jawbone. Afterward, they will not move around or make any noise, unlike dentures or other kinds of teeth replacements.
The whole process can take anywhere from 3 to 9 months because your mouth needs time to heal and grow new jaw bone.
Common Dental Implant Side Effects
Most dental implant procedures have a high success rate, so side effects, especially dangerous ones, are few and far between. It’s common to expect some slight discomfort after surgery, but it’s nothing that over-the-counter pain medication and gentle icing cannot fix. If any side effects continue for longer than a few days, tell your dentist right away.
Bleeding, Swelling, and Bruising
Side effects are the body’s natural response to any medical procedure, and should only last a few days at the most. Bleeding, swelling, and bruising at the implant site should be expected for any dental procedure, but again, with gentle post-surgery care, they should not last very long.
If possible, you can ask your dentist to prescribe specific pain medication if you expect more pain than usual.
Sometimes the implant site can get infected with peri-implantitis. In this case, the gums might get red and tender and might bleed when you brush your teeth. People who smoke, already have gum disease, or have diabetes might be more likely to get this side effect post-surgery.
Infection can impact the titanium implants’ ability to fuse with your jawbone and can cause dental implant failure. Sometimes, an infection might come about because of something other than the surgery. Either way, to decrease your chances of infection, you should follow all post-surgery care instructions and let your dentist know when you suspect infection.
Some telltale signs of infection might include the following:
- Persistent bad taste/bad breath
- Pus or bleeding of the implant area
- Difficulty chewing
- Swollen or red gums
- Loose implant
Especially for dental implants on the upper jaw, sinus issues might be more common. If the implant site goes into the sinus cavity, patients might experience headaches and pain in their cheeks.
Complications from Bisphosphonates Medications
If you take bisphosphonates, such as Fosomax, Actonel, Reclast, or Boniva, to prevent osteoporosis, or as a medication for cancer, you should tell your dentist before surgery. These medications might prolong the implants properly fusing with your jawbone.
Bisphosphonates prevent osteoclast cells from destroying bone, but osteoclasts are part of osteoblast, which help make up the bone itself. Taking these medications pose a risk for developing bisphosphonate-induced osteogenesis of the jaw, or BIONJ.