Swelling After Dental Implant Surgery

Swelling occurs after dental implant surgery for the same reason swelling can occur after any surgery. The operation involves cutting the gum open to expose bone and drilling into the bone where the dental implant will be placed. Sometimes, dental implants are performed in stages, so additional surgery is necessary. For example, an abutment may be placed at a later time. The gum is reopened to expose the implant, so the abutment can be attached. The gum tissue is then closed. A crown will later be attached to the abutment.


All of this detailed work, whether it is done in one stage or several stages, will lead to the typical discomfort associated with any kind of dental surgery. The aftereffects include swelling of the gums and face as well as bruising. This can last for a day or two or more. There may be pain and minor bleeding.


Treatment for swelling around the gums and the face includes cold compresses, mouth rinses, salt-water gargles and mouthwash gargles. Following the initial surgery, the patient is usually told to put a cold compress on the swollen area as soon as returning home. It is advised to apply the compress for 15 to 20 minutes, and then remove it for about 45 minutes. The process is repeated for several hours. The compress or ice pack can decrease pain and swelling.


Serious complications are uncommon in dental implant surgery. But symptoms may include dental pain, sore throat, swollen tonsils, swollen glands in the neck and facial pain. In such cases, antibiotics, antiviral medications and anti-inflammatory medications for pain are used.


Aside from swelling, overall healing from each procedure depends on the person and procedure. Healing following implant completion can take 6 weeks to as long as several months, according to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Swelling may occur after each surgical step.


Following each stage of surgery, you may need to eat soft foods for several days. If swelling or discomfort gets worse over the days after surgery, contact the doctor. Antibiotics and pain medications may be needed.


These complications might be avoided with the latest advancements in dentistry. New high-tech procedures being used by oral surgeons involve minimally invasive implant placement. Swelling, bruising or pain is not anticipated. Unlike conventional techniques, where incisions are made in the gum and the gum is peeled back off the bone, the minimal invasive placement requires no such surgical procedures. A small circle of gum is removed that allows for placement, explains Drs. Kenneth L. Halpern and Emily B. Halpern of Long Island Team Implantology in Roslyn Heights, New York.

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