After Implant Surgery
For most patients, recovery from uncomplicated implant surgery is similar to recovery from tooth extraction. Aftercare instructions are similar: do not disturb the wound and avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. There may be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue and this should be left alone immediately after surgery.
Mostly, we use dissolving stitches. If we did removable ones (and taking them out is a simple matter), we would tell you. Don’t play with your stitches with your tongue or otherwise bother them. They will loosen and fall out, usually, within the week. If some fall out in the first day or two and there is no bleeding or other problem, don’t worry. Please, feel free to call us if there are any concerns.
Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on gauze pads, folded for thickness and placed directly on the bleeding wound under biting pressure for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues please call for further instructions.
Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery and often peaks on the second or third day. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag, or a plastic bag filled with ice and wrapped in a towel,on the face in the area of surgery. Apply the ice 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off during the first 12 hours only, then DISCONTINUE. Applying ice after the first day will slow your healing.
Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid very hot or cold liquids or foods for the first day and stay with softer foods (e.g., cereal, soup, pudding, yogurt, eggs, etc.) on the day of surgery. Return to a normal diet at your own pace, but as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.
You should begin taking pain medication before you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, over-the-counter medications that are used for normal aches and pains (like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be tried if there are no contraindications, such as a history of ulcers, allergy to aspirin, or use of blood thinners. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed, always after food. NOTE: Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic, or have been otherwise instructed by your physician not to take them.
Antibiotics are used for some procedures, not all. If you have been given an antibiotic prescription it is important that you take it as prescribed until all the medication is finished.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. While there is to be no rinsing of the mouth or spitting out on the day of surgery, rinses should begin the next day. The day after surgery, either mouthwash and warm water (equal parts of each) or warm salt water rinses (one-half teaspoon of salt in 10 ounces of water) should be used at least 4 times a day, after meals and before bed. You should avoid brushing the area of surgery for the first week to ten days, but do brush your other teeth after the first day.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur if you resume too soon. Certainly, curtail your physical activity if you feel any ill effects. Normal exercise can usually begin when any swelling subsides after a few days.
Wearing your Prosthesis
Use of partial dentures, “flippers,” or full dentures should be minimized immediately after surgery and for at least 10 days in most situations. In many cases, the prosthesis can be inserted more quickly, but careful adjustment by your dentist is needed.