Healing After Dental Implants: What to Expect

Starry background overlay

There are several different types of dental implants, including single-tooth implants, implant-retained dentures, and all-on-4 dental implants. While the exact recovery time can vary depending on which type of implants you get, the length of the surgery, and your overall oral health. 

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial teeth that are implanted into your jaw in two steps: through a plate that is implanted into the jaw and which becomes fused with the jaw and then the false tooth or crown that is attached to it, fixing gaps in the teeth and blending in with your natural teeth.

Single-tooth implants replace single teeth as needed, while implant-retained dentures are dentures that are secured into the mouth via dental implants. All-on-4 implants utilize 4 implants to secure an entire set of permanent dentures. 

The Procedure

The dental implant process is quite lengthy, taking multiple appointments over months. While it can feel laborious, the results are worth it. Most dental implants last for over 30 years, so they’re a worthy investment.

  • Implant Surgery - Aside from the consultation, the first procedure is a minor oral surgery into the jaw. You will be given a local anesthetic to prevent feeling any pain and an opening will be made into the jawbone to implant a titanium rod. This is what the crown will attach to, but this is done in steps. It will take 1-2 weeks to heal from the jawbone surgery, but it will take up to 9 months for the osseointegration to be complete. This is where the implant becomes fused with the jawbone as a result of the bone growing around it.
  • Attaching the Abutment - Once you're healed and the implant has fused with your jaw, another minor surgery will be performed to attach an abutment to the implant. The abutment is what attaches to the crown. You will need an additional 2 weeks of healing from this procedure and it could be up to 6 weeks before your next appointment.
  • Artificial Teeth - It's finally time to attach your artificial tooth. Your dentist would have taken impressions of your teeth at a previous appointment to create a mold for a custom crown that perfectly matches your natural teeth. This will be fitted and secured in your mouth.

The Healing Process

Throughout the surgery process, it takes an average of 4 weeks of healing and 6-9 months for osseointegration to be complete. Smoking lengthens this estimate because it reduces your ability to heal fast.

Once you have completed the procedure, your recovery time will be affected by several factors:

  • How many dental implants there are
  • Bone health
  • Variable healing time depending on individual
  • If you smoke
  • If your procedure required bone grafting

You can expect to feel some soreness, pain, and mild bleeding, especially within the first 24 hours. If you only had 1 or 2 implants done, you could fully recover in just a couple of days. After 7-10 days, you should be able to return to eating normally. 


After your dental implant surgery is completed, you will be advised to avoid smoking, eating certain foods, and take extra care when brushing your teeth. In the first 24 hours, it is recommended that you rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater solution to kill bacteria. After the first 24 hours, you can brush your teeth, but do so very gently and do not use mouthwash.

If you are experiencing swelling or bruising in the face, try applying ice to your jaw in 30-minute intervals and then take it off for 20 minutes. Keep repeating this in the first 2 hours until the swelling goes down.

Until you get the go-ahead to return to eating normally, you’ll want to stick to soft foods that aren't too hot, such as applesauce, mashed potatoes, or ice cream. Stay away from hot, spicy, and crunchy foods.

The Bottom Line

While the dental implant procedure is long and the healing process can be a little rough, the results are well worth it and long-lasting. If you’re interested in using dental implants to improve your smile, contact us at All Day Smile for a consultation. Dr. Hang Pham can let you know if dental implants are right for you.

Ready to Join Our Phamily?

Schedule Your First Visit Today!

Request a visit

Photos courtesy of Sharon Suh