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When do implants start to feel normal?

Getting implants can be a big decision. Whether it’s breast implants, dental implants, or another type of implant, it’s normal to wonder when they will start to feel like a natural part of your body. Here’s a look at what to expect with the timeline for implants feeling normal.

Initial Recovery Period

In the first few days after getting implants, you will likely still be recovering from the surgery itself. This means you may have pain, swelling, bruising, and surgical dressings in place.

While implants can take longer to fully heal and settle into place, most people start to move past the initial discomfort of surgery within 2-4 weeks. Any pain and tenderness should gradually improve during the first month as the incisions heal and initial swelling goes down.

Transition Period As Swelling Resolves

During the first 1-3 months after surgery, your implants will still be settling into position. Residual swelling and changes to sensation are common during this transition period.

Breast implants may feel hard and immobile at first due to swelling and internal scarring. Nerves in the breast also need time to heal from surgery, which can cause numbness or hypersensitivity. These issues tend to gradually resolve within the first few months.

For dental implants, swelling and tenderness around the implant site is common for the first month or two. The gums and bone need to fully heal and adhere to the implant post. During this time, the implant may feel awkward until the swelling goes down.

3-6 Months After Surgery

By 3-6 months after surgery, most residual swelling and surgical changes should be resolved. Implants will start to feel more natural and become an integrated part of your body.

Breast implants will begin to feel softer and more like natural breast tissue yet still be firmer than real breasts. Nipple sensation often returns to normal around 3-6 months if nerves were affected.

Dental implants should be fully integrated with the bone by 3-6 months. While still feeling slightly different than natural teeth, they should move and function normally.

6-12 Months After Surgery

Within 6-12 months following surgery, implants should feel quite normal and natural. Most swelling, numbness, and tenderness is resolved during this timeframe.

Breast implants will continue to soften and drop into position during this period. Scarring from surgery will also fade, further improving the natural feel.

Dental implants finish adhering to the jawbone by 6-12 months. Gum tissue around the implant crown looks and feels like natural gums.

1 Year Mark

By one year after surgery, implants are considered fully healed and settled into place. At this point, they should feel like a seamless part of the body.

Breast implants no longer feel markedly firmer than real breast tissue. They move and bounce naturally with activity.

Dental implants should feel just like natural teeth in terms of sensation and ease of movement. The crown, implant post, and jawbone are fused together.

Ongoing Adaptation Period

While implants will feel normal and natural by one year, it can take 2-3 years before they feel 100% like a body part you were born with.

As breast implants age, they continue to soften and develop a more natural texture and pliability. This process happens gradually over the first few years.

Bone and tissues around dental implants take 2-3 years to fully remodel and stabilize. Sensitivity of both dental implants and existing natural teeth can fluctuate during this period.

Factors That Affect Adaptation Time

Several factors can influence the timeline for implants starting to feel normal:

  • Type and size of implant
  • Placement location on the body
  • Extensiveness of surgery
  • Quality of post-surgical care
  • Complications or infections
  • Overall health and healing abilities

For instance, more extensive procedures like breast reconstruction after mastectomy tend to have a longer recovery timeline and adaption period compared to breast augmentation alone.

Tips For Adaptation

Here are some tips to help your implants adapt and start to feel more natural:

  • Follow all post-op care instructions from your surgeon
  • Give implants proper time to heal before resuming strenuous activity
  • Use recommended medications and ointments to control pain and inflammation
  • Wear recommended compression garments or braces as directed
  • Attend all follow-up visits with your surgeon to monitor recovery
  • Contact your surgeon if you have any concerns like excessive pain, swelling, or changes in sensation
  • Avoid sleeping directly on implants for the first several weeks/months
  • Protect implants from trauma or pressure initially to allow proper healing

When to Contact Your Surgeon

Be sure to contact your surgeon right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever over 101 F
  • Excessive swelling, redness, pain, or tenderness
  • Pus or abnormal drainage from incisions
  • Sudden changes in appearance or sensation
  • Implants that feel abnormally hard, misshapen, or enlarged

These could indicate an infection or other complication requiring prompt treatment.

Conclusion

The timeline for implants starting to feel normal can vary based on the individual and type of implant. Most people find their implants begin feeling more natural after the first few months as initial swelling and surgical changes resolve.

Within one year, implants typically feel integrated and like a normal part of the body. Allowing 1-3 years for tissues to fully adapt around implants allows them to ultimately feel as close to natural as possible.

Pay close attention to your body during recovery and notify your surgeon of any concerning or abnormal changes. With proper healing, implants can become a seamless part of your body.