Care For Implant Surgery

Post-Operative Instructions

If you received anesthesia, do not eat or chew until the numbness has subsided.

  • DO NOT rinse with warm salt water. The doctor has given you a prescription rinse containing chlorhexidine, an antibacterial medicine to assist in the healing and keep the site healthy.  Make sure that you get rid of any toothpaste residue prior to rinsing and then DO NOT eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing. This will maximize the potency of the medication.
  • If you have had Gore-Tex sutures, they may need to be removed after healing. They are white strings which may see in your mouth. If they become loose and annoying, call the office to have them removed at your earliest convenience.  Do not try to remove them yourself.  If you have not had Gore-Tex sutures, you will have had dissolvable ones which will disappear.
  • Some degree of discomfort and pain arises a numbness subsides. At the first sign of pain or discomfort, take the prescribed medications. As an alternative you may take 2-4 Advil. If you cannot take aspirin products, then take two Tylenol. If the pain you are having, is not controlled by the Advil or “Advil-like” medication, you may take the prescribed severe pain medicine [typically Vicodin ES], but only after eating some food. Any pain medications can cause nausea and vomiting. It is very important that you have some food in your stomach before you take them.
  • DO NOT DISTURB THE AREA OF SURGERY. Allowing the tissues to rest undisturbed assists the healing process. Avoid vigorous chewing, excessive spitting, or aggressive rinsing. If you routinely use a Water Pik, avoid doing so during the healing phase. Initial healing may be delayed, active bleeding restarted, or infection introduced.
  • Expect minor bleeding or oozing. If bleeding persists, continue pressure on a fresh sponge for an additional 30 minutes to an hour. Biting on a moist tea bag wrapped in gauze may help control persistent oozing from the surgical site. Tea contains tannic acid, which helps promote blood clotting.
  • Firm pressure for 15-30 minutes usually controls the problem. If you check too frequently, (every few minutes), the blood clot will not form properly and bleeding will continue. Should active bleeding persist, Please call the office or page the doctor.
  • LIMIT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Over exertion may lead to postoperative bleeding and discomfort. When you lie down keep your head elevated on a pillow. You may wish to place a towel on your pillowcase to avoid staining from any blood-tainted saliva
  • PAIN FOLLOWING ORAL SURGERY may  be most severe within the first 6-8 hours after the operation. Please do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription medication. Do not wait for the pain to become unbearable before using some form of pain medication, as then it will be more difficult to control. Moderate to severe pain usually does not last longer than 48 hours. And mild discomfort usually diminishes after the third day. Please contact us if you experience prolonged severe pain so that we can help make you more comfortable.
  • SWELLING RELATED TO THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE may occur following certain types of procedures. An ice pack should be placed on the side of your face for 20 minutes then taken off for 10 minutes and repeated. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil, also help decrease swelling.
  • FLUID INTAKE IS IMPORTANT. Clear beverages, ginger ale, Seven-up, or Sprite, water, teas, soda, broth, soups, or juices are all suitable. Avoid hot liquids until the numbness has worn off, and the bleeding has stopped. Drink plenty of fluids.   AVOID USING A STRAW FOR SEVERAL DAYS. It may dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.
  • FOOD SELECTION. Soft, cool foods are most easily tolerated. A nutritious diet is most important to your comfort and temperament. Remember that eating can prevent nausea sometimes associated with certain medications. Supplements such as Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast and/or yogurt supply excellent added nutrition.
  • DO NOT EAT ANY POPCORN, POPPY SEEDS, SESAME SEEDS OR SEEDED FRUITS. THEY CAN GET STUCK AND CAUSE INFECTION!
  • Take any special medication we have prescribed on the special dosing schedule. Yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus should be taken while on antibiotics to prevent diarrhea. It is important to take the antibiotics to completion. If you are given antibiotics and take birth control pills, you should be aware that the birth control may become ineffective, therefore take appropriate precautions.
  • Take any regularly scheduled medication (for diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) on your regular schedule unless advised to do otherwise.
  • AVOID SMOKING COMPLETELY, as it tends to delay healing and interfere with regeneration

The Day Following Surgery And Thereafter

On the day following the surgery, rinse your mouth carefully with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a large glass of warm water. Repeat three times a day until remaining soreness subsides. Please do not use a syringe or water pik during the healing phase.

ANY SWELLING, SORENESS OR STIFFNESS IN THE JAW MUSCLES can be relieved by applying a warm moist towel to the affected side of the face.  Sometimes a soft diet may be necessary for the first few days following surgery. Most patients are able to resume regular food intake within a short time.

Bruising marks may appear on the skin of the face during the first few days after surgery.  Should any undue reaction or complications arise, notify the office immediately. We will endeavor to get to emergency calls as promptly as possible. If you are experiencing an emergency, go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

  • Warm salt water rinses should continue twice daily for the next two weeks with one teaspoon of salt per 8 ounces of water.
  • If antibiotics are part of your post operative instructions, it is essential that you take them as prescribed, on time, every time, with no skipping doses. If you experience an adverse reaction to your medication, call the office immediately.
  • It is also recommended that you use an ice pack on the side of your face and the sides of your jaws for the first 48 hours after surgery. Try to do this around the clock as much as possible.
  • It is important that you maintain a high protein diet throughout the first part of the postoperative phase. Foods that are a good source of protein are eggs, soup, cottage cheese, milk products, and lean ground beef.
  • The blender may be used to chop up foods. Food supplements, such as Meritene or Nutrament are available at pharmacies. A fairly soft diet should be maintained for several months following surgery while the implant area heals. Avoid all foods that are hard or crusty.
  • Avoid using a Water Pik and do not play with the implant with your tongue. This will only traumatize the implant area. Also, avoid any food that is hard or crusty, and avoid using a Water Pik.
  • We recommend you include a daily vitamin supplements. Any good multi-vitamin with a minimum of 1000 mg of Vitamin C will work.
  • If upper posterior implants were placed, we instruct patients to avoid blowing the nose during the first two weeks of the postoperative period. Otherwise, infection can set in.
  • Any dental implant patient who suspects he or she is getting an infection during the postoperative phase is advised to contact us immediately.
  • If no signs of infection show up, the patient should return in two weeks for suture removal and postoperative evaluation.
  • The remainder of the healing process can take up to six months from the time the dental implant is placed. You may have to wear a temporary prosthesis and make periodic adjustments to make sure it fits and works correctly.
  • When the permanent prosthesis is made, we will give you instructions on cleaning the implant and keeping it in optimal health with periodic visits to our office.

Additional Instructions

Some pain, bleeding, swelling and seeping are normal following oral surgery. A cold compress placed on the face near the extraction site for 30 minutes every five to ten minutes on the day of your surgery can be helpful. This will help reduce pain and swelling. Do not miss your follow up appointment(s) with your dentist and do not probe the area with your tongue or fingers. Please do not touch your lips to see or feel the area treated. Avoid brushing your teeth near the surgery site but brush and floss the rest of your mouth as instructed by the office. You can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen according to the instructions on the label or those provided by your doctor as needed. A warm salt water rinse, approximately ½ teaspoon in an eight ounce glass of water, three times a day can be helpful.

For the first 24 hours you may experience some cold and heat sensitivity. Do not eat, drink, chew or consume foods and beverages that are extremely hot or spicy until the numbness has worn off following the anesthetic. Avoid vigorous physical exercise for the first 24 hours and do not consume alcoholic beverages or smoke for at least 48 hours. Do not brush, rinse or spit. Do not use a straw for drinking. During the first few days after surgery a diet of liquids and soft foods such as soups, yogurt, juice and smoothies are recommended. If you experience excessive bleeding or discomfort after 48-72 hours, please call our office immediately.

Follow any other instructions provided by the office on your visit. Please take all medications as prescribed including your prescribed antibiotics to help prevent infection.