Placing dental implants requires surgery, and we want to ensure that you recover properly. Please review these post-operative instructions to learn how to correctly care for your surgical site. If you have questions, we welcome you to call us to speak with one of our surgeons, or a member of our team.
For the first hour following your surgery, bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs placed over the surgical sites. You may gently remove the gauze packs after one hour. If active bleeding persists, place new gauze and continue gently biting down for another 30 minutes. You can then change the gauze as needed (usually every 30-45 minutes). We recommend that you moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff it for more comfortable positioning.
Do not disturb the surgical site for at least one day following your procedure. This includes avoiding vigorous rinsing and not probing the area with objects. When you brush your teeth, do so gently, and be careful not to disrupt the surgical site.
Do NOT smoke for at least 48 hours.
Be sure to keep your mouth clean following surgery. We recommend that you use a warm saltwater solution (1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of water) to gently rinse your mouth. You should do this at least after each meal and at bedtime.
You may also apply warm compresses to the areas of swelling at 20-minute intervals to soothe tender areas and decrease swelling and stiffness.
Other things to be aware of following your implant surgery:
- Persistent Bleeding – If you experience severe bleeding, it usually means that the packs are being clenched only between the teeth and not over the surgical site. Reposition them to stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues to persist or becomes heavy, substitute a tea bag. Soak the bag in very hot water, squeeze it until it is damp, and wrap it in moist gauze before placing it on the surgical site for 20-30 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, contact [practice_name].
- Oozing – You can expect intermittent bleeding or oozing overnight. This may be controlled by placing fresh gauze and biting down gently for 30-45 minute intervals.
- Swelling – Swelling is common following oral surgeries. You can reduce swelling by using a cold pack or an ice pack to the cheek over the surgical area. Apply the cold pack for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours following your surgery.
- Pain – You will experience some discomfort as a result of your surgery. We will prescribe pain medication for your use. If you take your first dose before the anesthetic from your treatment has worn off, you should be able to manage your discomfort. We recommend that you eat with your medication to reduce the likelihood of nausea. Remember, the most severe pain usually occurs within the first 6 hours after the anesthetic has worn off. After this, your need for medication should decrease. If you are taking a large amount of pain medication at frequent intervals, contact our office. If you anticipate needing more medication over the weekend, call during weekday business hours for a refill.
- Nausea – Nausea is fairly common following surgery. Sometimes pain medication is the cause. You can reduce nausea caused by medication by preceding each pain pill with a small amount of soft food and taking the pill with a large glass of water. Continue to drink clear fluids and minimize your medication dosage, but call us if you continue to feel nauseated.
- Diet – Avoid hot foods, and do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery. Continue to eat soft, nourishing foods (soups, puddings, yogurt, milkshakes, etc.), but do not eat foods that may become lodged in the sockets of your implants (popcorn, nuts, sunflower seeds, etc.). You can progress to solid foods over the course of several days.
- Sharp Edges – If you feel something hard or sharp in the areas of your surgery, it is most likely the bony walls that supported your extracted teeth. Small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the following week or so. Contact our office if they are a cause for concern or discomfort.
For more information about our post-operative care instructions, please contact our office.