Dental Implant Post-Care

Following your dental implant placement surgery:

  • You can eat after your numbness wears off, however, it is important that you watch what foods you are eating.  Avoid eating anything small like rice, seeds or beans that can lodge in your surgical site.  Eating soft, bland foods is ideal for the first 48 hours after surgery.
  • Some bleeding is normal after your procedure. You will not be released from our office until it is observed that the extent of your post-procedural bleeding is within the range of normal and expected.  You should try to keep gauze at your surgical site for the first 30 minutes after your procedure IF the doctor advised such.  There are instances where your doctor will request no immediate pressure to the implant siteand in these cases, will advise no gauze.  If, in your case, pressure on gauze was advised, after 30 minutes you can remove your gauze.  If excessive bleeding persists, you can reapply provided new gauze in this area for another 30 minutes.  Bleeding should stop within 2-4 hours following surgery.
  • Pain following your procedure is normal, and is often dependent upon the extent of your individual procedure & your unique threshold to pain.  Pain can peak after 48-72 hours. 
    • Managing pain with medications:
      1. Take your first dose of pain relievers before the numbness wears off as it is ALWAYS more effective to stay ahead of pain rather than “playing catch up.”
      2. If you were not prescribed pain medication, you can rotate OTC pain relievers: acetaminophen (Tylenol) & ibuprofen (Motrin) every 4 hours to reduce swelling & discomfort if you have no personal contraindications to these medications.
      3. If you were prescribed pain medication, please follow the directions as outlined on your prescription & use with caution only as needed.  
        • Please follow all warnings associated w/ any prescribed pain meds as highlighted in the drug warnings supplied by your pharmacist as noted on the bottle as well as in any literature given with the medication.  Opioid analgesics may result in dependency.  They commonly cause severe drowsiness.  Do not operate a motor vehicle or machinery while taking opioid pain relievers.  Opioids may slow down breathing.  Mixing opioids with alcohol or certain other centrally-acting drugs heighten this effect, and could result in death.  Do not take any prescribed opioid medications if you have a previous drug dependency that you failed to disclose to your provider, if you can’t adhere to any of the warnings listed, or if any of this information makes you feel uncomfortable in taking any prescribed pain medication.  
        • Some pain meds may cause nausea in certain individuals.  For this reason, it is important to take pain medication with food.  You may also half the dose of your prescription pain med and alternate instead with an OTC pain reliever from a different drug group (meaning if your prescription pain med contains acetaminophen, then alternate with ibuprofen OR if your prescription pain med contains ibuprofen, then alternate with acetaminophen AS LONG AS THERE IS NO DRUG SPECIFIC OR PERSONAL CONTRAINDICATIONS WITH YOUR SPECIFIC HEALTH HISTORY) in order to reduce the frequency of the prescription pain med as well.  If nausea does not subside, discontinue the prescription pain medication and opt instead for OTC pain relievers.  Our office may call you in an anti-nausea medication where indicated if the prescription pain medication is required. 
  • Swelling may occur & is normal.  Swelling is the body’s normal reaction to surgery & healing. The swelling will not become apparent until 24 hours after surgery & will not reach its peak for 2-3 days. After this time, the swelling should decrease but may persist for 7-10 days. Swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Apply the ice packs to the outside of the face 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off while awake for the first 24 hours. After 48 hours, begin use of a warm, moist compress to the cheek.
  • Your jaw muscles may become sore from the numbing injections and/or from holding open for the surgery.  If after 72 hours you are still experiencing muscle soreness, apply heat (towel soaked in hot water, warmed gel pack or heating pad wrapped in a towel). Practice opening and closing. It is important to keep your jaw muscles moving. Continue heat as long as you have swelling and/or muscle soreness. It is not uncommon to develop bruising on the face after oral surgery.
  • DO NOT disturb the surgical site. Care should be taken in the immediate postoperative period to minimize contact with the implant. Aside from normal hygiene, it is best to completely leave the implant alone for the first 2 weeks after placement. You may want to limit foods to softer items & chew in an area away from the implant during the 10 to 12 week integration stage. Avoid vigorous rinsing and excessive spitting.  Continue with oral hygiene as a clean oral environment will cut down on harmful bacteria to aid in healing, but do be careful as to not poke or gouge the site while brushing/flossing.
  • Avoid using a straw for several days after your surgery to prevent dislodging the blood clot a/o grafting material & delaying healing.  
  • Avoid smoking completely as it increases your risk of implant failure.
  • Limit physical activity for 48 hours after your surgery.  No cardio during this time.  Rest & allow your body to focus on the healing process.  
  • Do not lift heavy objects or strain yourself in anyway until sutures are removed (or about 10-14 days if no sutures were required).  This is important for your body’s healing.  
  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic after surgery: finish it all even if symptoms start to subside prior before the end of the prescription.Make sure to call the office if a rash or other unfavorable reaction occurs.
  • If sutures were placed for your particular procedure, they will not dissolve on their own.  You should not touch, pull at, play with, or attempt to remove your own sutures.  Please make the sutures removal appointment scheduled for you,  so that our team can safely remove your sutures so as not to harm the surgical site, AND so that we may check the progress of your healing.
  • What to expect during healing: Bad breath is common & will disappear as healing occurs. 2-3 days post surgery, white, possible hard tissue may be seen in the surgical site. This signifies normal, healing tissue. It’s not unusual to see the silver healing cap appear through gum tissue following the procedure.
  • Rinse with the prescribed antibacterial mouth rinse given to you after your surgery twice daily for the first two weeks following implant surgery.

*NOTE: If you are taking PLAVIX or COUMADIN, do NOT take Ibuprofen or Aspirin products.

The most commonly asked question when it comes to implants:

“My implant is placed.  What’s next?  When can I get my crown?”

Your new implant has to undergo osseointegration (the direct structural & functional connection between bone and the surface of the implant), before the abutment (connecter between the implant and it’s crown) & the crown can be placed.  This typically takes 3-4 months depending on the location of placement.










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