DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

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Dental Implants

How long before I can dive after dental implants?I am considering having dental implants put in. How long do I have to wait after the implants are in until I can dive?

At this point, surgeons have not developed uniform recommendations related to oral surgery and scuba diving: generally, the more complicated the surgery, the longer the wait before diving. Surgical complications will add to this time, as can any underlying medical conditions, tobacco use and alcohol consumption.

During post-surgical osseointegration (the fusion of the implant into the bone), it is necessary to avoid anything that could apply pressure to the skin over the implant and cover screw or the healing abutment. Diving too soon after surgery with its resultant pressure, no matter how slight, could damage the site. For example, if the regulator’s bite tabs are over the implant site, transmitted biting forces can result in implant failure.

There are other considerations as well. Diving should be suspended for as long as it takes to avoid other complications associated with oral surgery:

  • revascularization (resumption of blood flow);
  • stabilization of the implant;
  • oral and sinus cavity pressure changes;
  • ability of the patient to hold a regulator in the mouth; and
  • use of medications for pain or infection.

    Bone grafting procedures and sinus surgery are more complex and will require a longer waiting period. The larger the graft site, the longer the wait. Some doctors will recommend avoiding any activity that causes micro-movement for at least six months. It can actually take up to one year for complete bone healing at an implant site. While diving sooner than one year may not cause a problem, your surgeon should determine the appropriate time period. Even if your surgeon doesn’t dive, follow his or her advice.