After Dental Implant Surgery

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After Dental Implant Surgery

After surgery to place a dental implant, it is important for the patient to take care of the surrounding area. For a month or more, the implant is still integrating with the tissues and bone, so the required patient care routine is more intense. Most important is to avoid disturbing the wound in the first few days following surgery. That means it is important to avoid spitting, rinsing or touching the mouth for 24 hours following surgery to limit the possibility of irritating or contaminating the site.

The following additional care instructions are also important:
  • Antibiotics: It is important to take antibiotics as prescribed to limit the possibility of infection at the surgical site. After 24 hours have passed, the patient should start using the prescribed rinse twice a day and use warm saltwater rinses four to five times a day, after every meal or snack.
  • Bleeding: Blood in the saliva is normal for about 24 hours after surgery. Biting on gauze pads can help lessen blood flow and control bleeding. Maintaining constant pressure until bleeding lessens and repeating as often as necessary is advised.
  • Pain: Once the anesthetic from the surgery wears off, there may be some pain. Ideally, a patient should start taking an over-the-counter pain medication like Aleve, Tylenol or Advil before the anesthetic wears off to prevent discomfort.
  • Diet: Soft foods are advised at first, but it will be possible to resume a normal diet soon. This should be done when the patient feels capable of chewing. It is especially important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. This aids healing and maintains overall health.
  • Hygiene: For the dental implant to heal properly, it is imperative that the surgical site be kept clean. That means brushing teeth as normal but avoiding sutures and avoiding brushing the implant. The implant will be adequate disinfected by the antibiotics and the saltwater rinses.
  • Swelling: Swelling is normal and expected. To keep this swelling down, keeping the head elevated as much as possible is important. Keeping activity to a minimum can also limit swelling. For the first 48 hours, ice packs will limit swelling. After that, moist heat can be used.
  • Prosthetics and night guards: Partials, flippers, complete dentures, night guards and retainers should not be used for at least 10 days after surgery. If special circumstances are involved that could require wearing these items, this can be discussed during the consultation before the surgery.
  • Smoking: Smoking following a dental implant procedure increases the risk of infection and increases the risk of the implant failing to integrate with surrounding bone and tissue. Patients should not smoke for at least two weeks after getting a dental implant.

What Is Involved In The Recovery?

Every case is different, of course, but recovery generally happens in phases. The primary focus of the patient should be maintaining good oral hygiene. The implant must stay clean to properly integrate with the jawbone. If cared for properly, the implant can last a lifetime. Discomfort should gradually lessen over time if hygiene is maintained. Minor bleeding, swelling and bruising are to be expected. The use of pain medications is recommended.

The healing time is different depending on whether a crown is placed immediately or not. Plus, individual healing times vary widely. Follow up appointments are required and are scheduled when appropriate.

For additional information about dental implant recovery, contact our dental office at (619) 640-5100.