Dental Implant Surgery Post-Operative Instructions
Table of Contents
- The dental implant is acting like a plug to stop bleeding. Slight bleeding can be expected for the first and second day following surgery. If you see a small amount of blood in your saliva, do not worry. You can swallow your saliva; you will not get sick.
- If bleeding becomes heavy, apply one to two pieces of wet gauze (that your dentist gave you) over the ridge and apply firm finger pressure on either side of the ridge (from the cheek-facing side, and the tongue/palate facing side). Do not apply pressure on top of the implant, as this will disturb the stitches and increase the chance of implant failure.
- If bleeding does not stop after a few days, or continues to be heavy, give your dentist in Toronto a call. If the dentist cannot be reached, visit your local hospital emergency room.
Avoid agitating the healing area
- The goal is to not disturb the stitches or dental implant for maximal healing. Movement to the dental implant can cause it to fail.
- Avoid forceful movements in the mouth, such as sucking through a straw, vigorous rinsing, and forceful spitting, for at least 24 hours.
- If you have to expel liquids from your mouth, allow the liquid to drool out of your mouth over a sink only.
- Swelling may occur over the course of 48 hours after the dental implant surgery and is a normal part of healing. The amount of swelling will depend on how extensive the surgery was. The more difficult or complicated the surgery, the more swelling can be expected.
- To minimize swelling, place an ice bag wrapped or bag of frozen peas (wrapped in a towel) over the cheek, on and off for a few minutes at a time.
- If you were prescribed pain medications, take them as prescribed. You may use pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil. They are available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.
- Ask your dentist what dosage is right for you, but if you do not have a pre-existing medical condition of allergies, 1000mg acetaminophen (Tylenol) with 600mg ibuprofen (Advil) every 4-6 hours or as needed is a very powerful combination.
- If you were prescribed Tylenol #3, do not operate your car or other heavy machinery.
- If your dentist prescribed antibiotics for you, take them as prescribed until finished. If you start feeling worse after the third day following surgery, or if you start having a difficult time swallowing or breathing, contact us or seek help at your local hospital emergency room. You may be allergic and require switching to a different antibiotic.
- Your dentist will typically arrange for a follow up visit in a week. If the dentist sees signs of infection, antibiotics will be prescribed then.
Keeping the Area Clean
- No brushing, flossing, or rinsing your mouth for the next 24 hours.
- Avoid brushing and rinsing the healing surgical area for at least two weeks.
- After 24 hours, you may start gently rinsing the healing dental implant area with warm salt water. If your dentist provided you with a plastic syringe, fill it with salt water and gently rinse the healing socket after every meal.
- After 24 hours, you may also start brushing and flossing your other teeth like normal, except no toothpaste.
- You can re-introduce toothpaste after 48 hours. We do not want toothpaste particles getting trapped in the healing area.
Absolutely no Smoking or Alcohol
- Smoking tobacco products and drinking alcohol will disturb our implant surgical site and increase the risk of implant failure.
- Avoid smoking and drinking for at least 4 weeks.
Avoid Vigorous Exercise
- Too much physical activity may cause you pain and cause the dental implant surgical site to bleed. Normal activity can resume after a few days. Try to keep your head elevated as much as possible.
- It is important to eat well and stay hydrated in the days following dental implant surgery.
- Have a soft diet; think scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, smoothies, yoghurt, soft rice, porridge, or congee.
- Nothing too hot or cold for the first 48 hours.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Avoid spicy and acidic foods that can irritate the healing area.
- Avoid small nuts and seeds that can get trapped in the healing surgical site.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to recover from dental implant surgery?
Typically, your dentist will ask that you at least take about 48-72 hours to recover afterwards. After that, you should be able to return to normal physical activity. Each person’s healing potential is different. But typically it will take 4 weeks for soft tissues like gums to heal completely. For dental implants to fully integrate with bone, it can take up between 3 to 6 months depending if it was an immediate extraction with dental implantation, or if a bone graft was involved.
How long does it take for stitches to dissolve in your mouth?
Your dentist may have applied stitches after removing your tooth. Some stitches will dissolve on their own, others will not.
If your dentist used dissolvable stitches, it could take up to 2 weeks for them to dissolve away.
If your dentist placed non-dissolvable stitches, you will have a follow up appointment in a few weeks where the dentist will remove the stitches for you.
Sometimes, stitches can loosen for dissolve prematurely. If the stitches are falling apart sooner than expected, contact your dentist to see if an earlier appointment is required.
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