After Placement of Dental Implants
The majority of dental implant procedures are done through minimally invasive techniques resulting in minimal swelling, bleeding, or discomfort. As a general rule, try not to disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. There will be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue which you will be able to feel with your tongue or possibly see (with anterior teeth). This is a temporary device that will be removed in the future by your general dentist before fabrication of the crown.
Some minor bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding should be controlled by biting on a gauze pad or moistened black tea bag placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. If bleeding does not slow after a couple of hours, please call for further instructions.
Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. Implant procedures where multiple implants are place or where bone grafting is simultaneously completed have higher potential for swelling during the first 3 postoperative days. Single tooth implants rarely cause any swelling at all. To minimize swelling, apply ice to the cheek near affected area and keep your head elevated at least 30 degrees even while sleeping for the first 36 hours.
During the first 2 postoperative days, drink plenty of fluids and eat soft or spoon foods. Avoid excessively hot fluids and food to minimize chance of increased bleeding. You can advance your diet back to normal as you feel comfortable after 5-7 days. Avoid use of straws and smoking for at least 5 days.
The majority of implant patients have minimal pain during the postoperative period. We would advise taking some Advil or Tylenol before the local anesthetic numbness wears off. Later in the day you can consider taking additional pain medication as needed.
For moderate pain we advise using alternating Advil with Tylenol. For most patients taking 400-600 mg of Advil alternating every 3 hours with 500 mg of Tylenol is very effective. This means that you will be able to take pain medicine every 3 hours – but alternating drug types each time.
For severe pain you may have been given a prescription. The prescribed medication should only be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic to them, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take them. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery often peaks on the third postoperative day and then quickly declines. If pain persists, call the office.
Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. The night of surgery, use salt water (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) or mouthwash rinse to keep the wound clean. For the first 24 hours, we advise not to brush the wound area. During the first postoperative week, we advise using salt water or mouthwash rinse after every meal and before bed. Brush lightly in the area where the implant was placed unless this stimulates bleeding or discomfort. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds before spitting out.
Keep physical activities to a minimum during the first day. Vigorous exercise that increases your blood pressure (hence promoting bleeding) should be avoided for 72 hours.
Wearing your Prosthesis
You should have been given clear instructions about whether you can wear a flipper over the implant on the day of your surgery. With anterior teeth, this allows for good cosmetics even though it is not very functional. if wearing the removable appliance causes pain, we advise removing it and leaving it out for several days. Partial or full dentures should not be used after surgery for at least 10 days, or when advised by Dr Boerman or your dentist.