After Placement of Dental Implants

Bleeding

Remove gauze pack(s) today at home if one was placed after surgery.  Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (visible oozing coming from the surgical site) can be controlled by biting on a gauze pack placed directly on over the surgical site.  To replace the gauze pack(s), take two pieces of gauze, fold in half, moisten with water so they are damp, and fold in half again. Place the gauze pack(s) directly over the surgical site(s) and apply pressure for 30 minutes. 

Ice and Swelling

To minimize swelling, place ice packs on the side(s) of your face where surgery was performed for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, as able for the first two days.  Elevating your head on a couple of pillows when lying down will also help to minimize swelling.  Swelling may increase up to three days following surgery.  Use warm, moist heat compresses on the third day if necessary.

Diet

If you were sedated, we recommend starting your post-operative diet with clear liquids (water, fruit juice, 7-Up, Jell-O, broth).  Drink from a glass and avoid using a straw for 24 hours.  You may gradually introduce soft foods (applesauce, soup, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, pasta) if tolerating liquids well and feeling has returned to your lips and tongue. Avoid extraction site(s) when chewing.  We do not recommend dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream or milkshakes on the day of surgery, as nausea and vomiting may develop in conjunction with the anesthetic and pain medication. 

If you were not sedated, you may begin eating soft foods when feeling returns to lips and tongue. Do not use a straw for 24 hours and avoid implant site(s) when chewing.  Advance to other foods as you feel comfortable.  Avoid hard, crunchy foods for a few days.  

Pain Medication

You should begin taking pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off, usually within a couple of hours. Always try to eat or drink something before taking any medication.  For moderate pain, you may try an over-the-counter pain reliever. If the over-the-counter pain reliever is not effective enough, you may supplement with the narcotic pain medication if prescribed.  We recommend waiting three hours after taking the over-the-counter medication before taking the narcotic.  It is important to stagger the doses so you are not taking them both at the same time.   Do not drive or operate machinery while taking narcotic pain medication.   

Antibiotics

Start or resume your antibiotic before bedtime.  Do not take all medications at the same time as this could upset your stomach.  Take as directed until gone to help prevent infection.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. The night of surgery, use the prescribed chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse before bed. Beginning the day after surgery, the chlorhexidine rinse should be used twice daily; after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds then spit it out. Warm salt water rinses (one-half teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day as well, especially after meals. Brush your teeth and the healing abutments (if present). Be gentle initially while brushing the surgical areas.

Stitches

Most sutures are dissolvable and will begin to fall out on their own in 3-4 days.  Occasionally, we will place sutures that require removal by the doctor at your follow-up appointment.

Smoking

Do not smoke for five to seven days.  Smoking greatly increases the risk of infection leading to implant failure.

Activity

Keep physical activity to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, or if you feel light-headed, you should discontinue exercising.

Wearing your Prosthesis

Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures, should not be used immediately after surgery.  Follow the advice of your surgeon as each case is different.