What to Expect After Implant Surgery


We care about our patients and want to ensure they have adequate information to recover from dental implant surgery as quickly as possible. Therefore, we have provided a list of post-operative instructions to assist you in the recovery process.

Discomfort

Some degree of discomfort and pain will arise as numbness subsides. At the first sign of pain or discomfort, take the prescribed medications. Any Narcotic medication can cause nausea and vomiting. It is very important that you have some food in your stomach before you take medication. Please do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription medication.

Pain Following Oral Surgery

Pain will be most severe within the first 6-8 hours after the operation. Do not wait for the pain to become unbearable before using some form of pain medication; it will be more difficult to control. Moderate to severe pain usually does not last longer than 48 hours. Mild discomfort usually diminishes after the third day. Please contact us if you experience prolonged severe pain so that we can help make you more comfortable.

Rinsing

Remember DO NOT rinse with warm salt water. The doctor may have given you a prescription rinse containing chlorhexidine, an antibacterial medicine to promote healing and to keep the site healthy. Use the rinse as prescribed. Make sure that you get rid of any toothpaste residue prior to rinsing and then DO NOT eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing. This will maximize the potency of the medication. Please do not use a syringe or irrigator during the healing phase.

Do Not Worry about Stitches

If they become loose and annoying, please call the office to have them trimmed or removed at your earliest convenience. Otherwise, they are usually dissolvable.

Do Not Disturb the Area of Surgery

Allowing the tissues to rest undisturbed assists with the healing process. Avoid vigorous chewing, excessive spitting or aggressive rinsing. If you routinely use an irrigator, avoid doing so during the healing phase. Disturbing the area may delay initial healing, restart active bleeding or introduce infection.

Expect Minor Bleeding or Oozing

If bleeding persists, replace gauze and apply pressure on gauze for an additional 30 minutes to an hour. Biting on a moist teabag wrapped in gauze may help control persistent oozing from the surgical site. Tea contains tannic acid, which helps promote blood clotting. Firm pressure for 15-30 minutes usually controls the problem. If you check too frequently (every few minutes), the blood clot will not form properly, and bleeding will continue. Should active bleeding persist, please call the office or the doctor’s cell phone after office hours.

Limit Physical Activity

During the first 24-48 hours after surgery, limit physical activity. Over exertion may lead to postoperative bleeding and discomfort. When you lie down, keep your head elevated on a pillow. You may wish to place a towel on your pillowcase to avoid staining from any blood-tainted saliva.

Swelling Related to the Surgical Procedure

Swelling may occur following certain types of procedures. An ice pack should be placed on the affected side of the face for 20 minutes, taken off for 20 minutes and repeated. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil, also help decrease swelling. Bruising marks may appear on the face and neck during the first few days after surgery.

Fluid Intake is Important

Clear beverages, ginger ale, 7-Up, Sprite, water, tea, broth, soups or juices are all suitable. Avoid hot liquids until the numbness has worn off and the bleeding has stopped. Drink plenty of fluids.

Avoid Using a Straw for Several Days

It may dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.

Food Selection

Soft, cool foods are most easily tolerated. A nutritious diet is very important for your comfort and temperament. Remember that eating can prevent nausea sometimes associated with certain medications. Supplements such as Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast and/or yogurt supply excellent added nutrition. Most patients are able to resume regular food intake within a short time.

* DO NOT EAT ANY POPCORN, POPPY SEEDS, SESAME SEEDS OR SEEDED FRUITS. THEY CAN GET STUCK AND CAUSE INFECTION! 

Antibiotics

Yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus should be eaten while on antibiotics to prevent diarrhea. It is important to take the antibiotics to completion. If you are given antibiotics and take birth control pills, you should be aware that the birth control may become ineffective, therefore, take appropriate precautions.

Take any Regularly Scheduled Medication

Continue to take any regularly scheduled medications (for diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) on your regular schedule unless advised to do otherwise.

Try to Avoid Smoking Completely

Smoking tends to delay healing and interferes with regeneration.

After 24 Hours

Swelling, soreness or stiffness in the jaw muscles can be relieved by applying a warm, moist towel to the affected side of the face.

If you had a Bone Graft with your Dental Implant:

  • You may find some small granules in your mouth for the first several days. Do not be alarmed. It is normal to have some of these granules come out of the graft site and into your mouth.
  • Do not vigorously rinse or spit for 3-5 days.
  • Do not apply pressure with your tongue or fingers to the grafted area, as the material is movable during the initial healing phase.
  • Do not lift or pull on the lip to look at the sutures. This can actually cause damage to the wound site and tear the sutures.

If you had a Sinus Lift with your Dental Implant:

  • Do not blow your nose for 2 weeks.
  • If you must sneeze, do so with your mouth open to avoid any unnecessary pressure.
  • Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking greatly inhibits healing, especially in the sinus graft.
  • Do not drink liquids through a straw.
  • Do not lift or pull up on your lip to look at the stitches, as this may actually cause damage and tear the stitches.
  • Take your antibiotics as directed, until completed.
  • You may have some bleeding from the nose. This is common and should pass quickly.
  • If you feel congested, you may need to use antihistamines or decongestants. If you do, use over the counter products such as Sudafed, Tavist-D or Dimetapp. If you need to use a nasal spray, make sure it’s saline only.

If any adverse reaction or complications arise, notify the office immediately.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please contact our office during office hours or the after hours number provided to you.