One of the first questions we often hear when discussing potential oral surgery with patients is, “How long will my recovery take?” quickly followed by “When can I go back to work?”
Oral surgery, while necessary, can definitely have an unwelcome impact on your daily activities, and knowing what to expect makes it easier to plan ahead and successfully fit the surgery and recovery period into your life.
Your recovery time will vary based on a number of factors, including the type of surgery you had and your own current state of health. Dr. Ryan Knight will always provide you with an estimate of recovery time, usually in a range of days or weeks, but it’s important to bear in mind that these are just estimates and your own time may vary a bit depending on, again, your health as well as how closely you follow your post-op instructions and whether you are taking your medications as prescribed.
Failing to comply with these instructions may increase your chances for developing complications, which will also increase your healing time.
Simple and Complex Tooth Extractions
We perform many extractions here at Fort Worth Cosmetic & Family Dentistry. A simple extraction is usually performed on a tooth that is intact above the gumline. The procedure itself is quick and typically painless, and your recovery time will be fairly speedy as well – usually only a day or two but sometimes more depending on how many teeth were removed.
A complex extraction is, as per the name of the procedure, more complex. Complex or surgical extractions are done in a couple different scenarios. For instance, if your tooth is severely damaged by trauma or decay and has fractured beneath the gumline, we will need to perform a complex extraction to get to it. Complex extractions are also done to remove impacted wisdom teeth.
Because we have to make an incision into the gum to remove the tooth, you will probably need sutures and your recovery time will also increase. You can expect recovery from a complex extraction to take anywhere from a few days to a week. The length of time will also vary depending on how many teeth we removed during your procedure.
Dental implants are a state-of-the-art surgical method of replacing missing teeth. We place a metal post into your jaw bone, where it becomes a part of the bone through a process called osseointegration. Once you are healed, the post then can be used to hold a restoration, like a crown or a bridge – or even dentures.
You can expect the recovery time from the implant procedure to last anywhere from a few days to a week or so.
Dental implant surgery also sometimes requires the use of bone grafting techniques to build up depleted bone enough so that the implant can be held in place. In some cases, we may use bone grafting prior to your implant surgery, and in other cases, it may be appropriate to graft the bone during your implant surgery. If you are having bone grafting done, it may extend your recovery time, and Dr. Green will discuss this with you.
Another procedure we perform is gum grafting to repair damage caused by periodontal disease. Additional gum tissue is added to your existing tissue and as it heals, it encourages your own tissue to grow over it. You can expect your gum grafting recovery time to last for about a week or two.
Flap surgery is another surgical procedure designed to treat recession caused by gum disease. During this surgery, we lift the gums, remove any tartar that has built up in the pockets around your teeth, and then suture your gums in place to eliminate the pockets. As your gums heal, they will tighten around your teeth and fit more snugly in place. The healing time for flap surgery is typically around a week.
How Can I Speed Up My Recovery Time?
Dr. Green will give you specific instructions for caring for yourself following your surgery. These instructions will vary slightly depending on which surgery you are having, but in general, they will tell you to not smoke, to take your prescriptions as directed, eat cool and soft foods, drink plenty of liquids (but not through a straw), and get plenty of rest. To have the best possible recovery and minimize the risk of complications, please follow these instructions.
If you have any questions about your surgery and the expected recovery time, we encourage you to call our Fort Worth dental office at (817) 737-6601 and schedule a consultation with Dr Ryan Knight.