Post-Op Instructions – Dental Implants
The following general instructions are to be considered along with your own personal care instructions provided the day of surgery.
Do not disturb the wounds or any stitches placed. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing,or redness in the saliva is not uncommon in the first two days following the procedure. If there is excessive bleeding, fold a moistened piece of gauze thick enough to bite on and place it directly on the extraction site biting firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
After surgery most patients experience swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face. The swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and may not reach its maximum until two to three days post-operatively. To minimize swelling apply ice on your jaw for the first 48 hours (15 minutes on then 15 minutes off).
The type of stitches used will depend on the surgery performed. You will be advised if you had stitches placed in your gums and if they will dissolve and fall out on their own in approximately 1 to 2 weeks or if you will need to return to have them removed by the surgeon. If they come out earlier it is not usually a concern unless persistent bleeding occurs.
Medication and Antibiotic Mouth Rinse
Be sure to take prescribed medication or mouth rinses (such as Peridex) as directed to help reduce the chance of infection. Not all patients will have such prescriptions, depending on the particular situation. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction and contact the office immediately.
In most cases, straight-forward implant surgeries result in minimal disruption of normal routine and the surgical area can simply be avoided for several days. More complicated cases may require more specific instructions. The day of surgery begin with clear fluids (juice, broth, jello) and progress slowly eating soft foods (pudding, yogurt, soups, pasta, well-cooked veggies) by chewing away from the surgical sites. Remember it is important to hydrate and maintain adequate nutrition for optimal healing to occur.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Start rinsing your mouth with warm salt water rinses (1/2 tsp of salt in a cup of warm water) 24 hours following surgery. You should do this every 4-6 hours, especially after meals, for several days until the tenderness is gone. It is important to brush and floss your other teeth, but avoid the surgical site(s) and stitches completely for a few days to allow initial healing, and then be very gentle with brushing these areas for 1 to 2 weeks. If you have a healing abutment (metal post) or an actual temporary crown (cap or artificial tooth) protruding through the gums, you may follow the same instructions and brush it gently after a few days. Avoid flossing the healing abutment or temporary crown/cap until instructed to do so.
Studies have proven smoking may lead to many complications, such as implant failure and infection, and causes prolonged pain and time to heal. Avoid smoking until the site has healed over (this could take 2-3 weeks). If you cannot hold off until then, it is in your best interest to avoid smoking as long as possible after the surgery, and then to minimize it.
Sinus Lift Patients
If you had a ‘sinus lift’ procedure where the floor of the sinus in the upper jaw was elevated to allow for implant placement, you should avoid any activities that cause excess pressure or suction in the mouth or nose for about 10-14 days. In particular, avoid forceful sucking or blowing from either the mouth or nose, woodwind instruments, scuba diving, and if possible airline travel due to the pressure changes.
During the consultation it will be determined if you will require temporary crown (s), partial dentures or full dentures which may need to be fabricated in advance or existing prosthesis may need to be modified. This may be coordinated with your general dentist. In some cases you may be recommended you leave the prosthesis out for 7-10 days to allow for proper healing.