After Placement of Dental Implants
Dear Patients and Care-givers,
Following these instructions will provide the best chance possible for your dental implant to begin healing properly and later function like a natural tooth. Generally, having dental implant surgery is much less painful than having wisdom teeth removed. Many of our patients report very minimal discomfort, if any at all. Keep in mind that each patient is an individual and will experience different levels of discomfort. If at any time, you feel that something you are experiencing is not normal, or you have questions, please feel free to contact our office.
8 Ways to Promote Proper Healing After Dental Implant Placement
After surgery, it is normal to have some oozing of blood in the surgical area. Keep firm, continuous pressure on the gauze throughout the day. Change the gauze once every hour, only while the bleeding continues. Once the bleeding has stopped, discontinue use of the gauze. The bleeding should be well controlled at the end of the first day. If you have uncontrolled bleeding or heavy bleeding beyond the first day, please contact our office.
If you have had a bone grafting procedure, it is important to bite on gauze for the first 3 hours regardless of whether the site is bleeding or not. Following these instructions will help to establish a proper blood clot, which aids in healing of the bone grafting site. Change the gauze every hour for the first 3 hours, and if the bleeding has stopped, discontinue using the gauze. You may also notice some very small, whitish particles on the gauze or around the surgical site, this is normal. In most cases, a small collagen sponge will have been placed over the bone graft to help control oozing. It occasionally becomes displaced from the site or falls out. This does not represent a problem and the bone graft will continue to heal normally. If you see that the collagen sponge has fallen out, do not be alarmed, you have not lost your bone graft.
In most cases, a small metal cap called a healing abutment will be screwed into the top of your dental implant at the time of surgery. If you have a healing abutment, it will be visible in your mouth. Its purpose is to shape the gum tissue into a more proper form for your permanent crown and to avoid any additional surgical procedures on the implant. Your healing abutment is temporary and will remain in your mouth only during the healing phase. Occasionally, healing abutments become loose. If you notice that the abutment becomes loose, or falls out, please call our office immediately, and we will replace it.
You may or may not have stitches in the surgical site. If you do, our surgical staff will inform you before you are released from our office. Usually, they will be the dissolving type of suture that will break down and fall out themselves within the first 7-10 days following surgery.
Diet following placement of Dental Implants
As soon as you leave the office, you may begin to eat soft foods. It is a good idea to eat something when you get home so you can begin to take your prescribed medications. We recommend things like milkshakes, fruit juices, mashed potatoes, soups, and soft pasta. Avoid small, hard foods such as popcorn, granola, and nuts, which may become lodged in the surgical site. Drink plenty of fluids to help avoid dehydration.
Apply an ice pack to the outside of your face over the surgical area to help reduce swelling. Begin using ice packs as soon as you get home. Apply the ice pack for 15 minutes, followed by a 15 minute rest. Continue this for the first 24 hours, as much as possible, while you’re awake. Its normal for swelling to continue to increase for the first 2-3 days following surgery. Keeping your head elevated while resting and sleeping will also decrease swelling.
Activity after placement of a Dental Implant
Resting and avoiding strenuous activity for the first 2-3 days following surgery will allow your body to heal more quickly and will minimize swelling. Avoid any activity or sport that may expose you to a blow to the mouth or jaw until your implant has healed completely.
Medications frequently prescribed following dental implant surgery
Taking the medication that your doctor has prescribed for you will help you to effectively manage any discomfort you may experience. Please follow the directions on your prescription bottle and call our office if you have any questions. Keep in mind that taking your medications before your local anesthetic wears off will help you to manage your discomfort more easily. It is important for you to have something to eat before you take any kind of medication. This will help to minimize the occurrence of nausea or vomiting. The following are common medications that are frequently prescribed for patients who have had dental implant surgery:
- Ibuprofen – This is an anti-inflammatory medication that reduces swelling and relieves minor pain. Even if you are not in immediate pain, taking the Ibuprofen as directed will help to minimize swelling and make you more comfortable. Many of our patients are able to manage their discomfort with Ibuprofen alone.
- Vicodin – (generic name is hydrocodone) this is a narcotic pain medication that is sometimes prescribed to relieve pain. You may use it in conjunction with Ibuprofen, if needed. However, you should not take it with Tylenol, it already contains Tylenol.
- Antibiotics – These are only prescribed when your doctor feels that they are necessary for you. Please take them according to the directions on the bottle until they are gone.
- Peridex – (generic name is chlorhexidine) this is a mouth rinse- begin rinsing with this the day following surgery. It is intended to help keep the surgical area clean and reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Continue using it until you return to our office for your one week follow up visit.