Dental Implant Post Operative Instructions
Post-Operative Instructions: Dental Implants
You will notice that you cannot see the actual implants in your mouth as the gums cover the area. This is good. Do not stretch your lip daily to inspect the area. This can cause wound breakdown. In many instances a healing cap or abutment was placed over the implant. This will look silver and will be emerging through the gums. Again, do not stretch your lip daily to inspect the area. This can cause wound breakdown and lead to implant failure. Be very cautious not to eat or chew on these temporary implant covers as it will place undue movement on the implants below and can cause implant failure.
FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE DAY:
- Do not spit. Use a tissue to wipe your mouth as needed or swallow your saliva.
- Do not use a drinking straw. Drink straight from the cup.
- Do not smoke.
- Keep fingers and tongue away from the surgical area.
Spitting, the use of a straw, smoking, and poking the surgical area can dislodge the blood clot that is forming and will cause bleeding from the area. Also, smoking can increase the chances of an infection.
Some minor bleeding is expected after dental implant surgery. It will usually subside quickly and stop within an hour or two after surgery. A little oozing is normal and may persist for several hours.
- Keep gauze on the surgical area with some biting pressure for 30–45 minutes.
- If all else fails, call the office.
Most patients will experience some swelling after surgery in the mouth. It may be mild or severe and is different for every patient. The swelling may increase for the first 24–48 hours before it starts to go away. It may last for several days. Some bruising may also develop on the face.
You may start with non-abrasive foods such as mashed potatoes, pasta, cottage cheese, soup, or scrambled eggs as soon as the local anesthetic wears off.
You may resume a regular diet as soon as you feel up to it; however, please try not to chew directly on the implant sites.
You may start rinsing after 48 hours, very gently, with some warm salt water (1 tsp of salt in 8 ounces of warm water). You may brush your teeth per usual, though be very careful near the surgical sites.
Unless told otherwise, the sutures used during your procedure are dissolvable and will fall out on their own. This generally occurs in the first week after surgery, but timing varies from 4–10 days.
BONE GRAFT MATERIAL:
If bonegraft was used at the time the dental implant was placed, you might notice some gritty material in your mouth.
This is nothing to worry about and should subside within a day or two.
If stability is optimal, the second stage procedure can be bypassed, and an attachment is placed that protrudes through the gum tissue, which will be visible. Once the bone has healed, the restoring dentist will be able to access the implant without the need for further surgery.
WHEN CAN THE CROWN BE PLACED?
A dental crown can be attached to a dental implant once the implant has fused to the bone. This is a process called osseointegration.
The length of time the bone must heal varies from 3-6 months. The length of time needed for osseointegration is a function of the bone quality, quantity, and patients relative underlying overall health.
You were probably given one or more prescriptions for medications. Take all as directed on the bottle. Call us if you experience severe nausea or diarrhea, or cannot swallow your pills.
- Antibiotics: Continue until the bottle is empty. Do not quit halfway.
- Pain Medicine: Usually it is necessary to take narcotic pain medication in a scheduled fashion (every 4–6 hours) for the first 24 hours and as needed thereafter. Remember that narcotics can make you drowsy, so no driving, swimming, operating machinery, or drinking alcoholic beverages while you are taking them.
- You may wean yourself off of the narcotic medication and substitute 500 mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol®).
- If directed to do so, you may use ibuprofen, 600 mg, every 6 hours while awake, for the first 4 or 5 days.
Once you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication, you may resume your normal activities as you feel up to it. Go easy at first with exercise and recreation and increase your activity slowly over several days back to your normal routine.
Please follow these instructions as closely as possible. They are designed to help you heal quickly and comfortably.
- Do not rinse or spit for 48 hours after surgery.
- Keep your fingers and tongue away from the socket or surgical area.
- Use ice packs on the surgical area (side of face) for the first 48 hours; apply ice 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off. (Note: Bags of frozen peas work well.)
- For mild discomfort, take Tylenol® or ibuprofen every 3–4 hours.
- For severe pain, use the medication prescribed to you.
- Drink plenty of fluids. (Do not use a straw—this creates suction in the mouth that could cause complications.)
- We suggest that you do not smoke for at least 5 days after surgery.
- Avoid strenuous activity and do not exercise for at least 3–4 days after surgery. After that, be careful: your regular caloric and fluid intake have been reduced, so you may get light-headed, dizzy, or weak.
- If the muscles of the jaw become stiff, the use of warm moist heat to the outside of your face over the spots that are stiff will relax these muscles.
- After the first post-operative day, use a warm salt water rinse following meals for the first week to flush out particles of food and debris that may lodge in the surgical area. (Mix ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Mouthwash can be added for better taste.)
- Your diet should consist mainly of soft, easily swallowed foods and cool drinks. Avoid anything that might get stuck in your teeth, so no seeds, nuts, rice, popcorn, or similar foods.
We are here for you.
If you have a question about your procedure or treatment plan, please contact us (832) 906 6127 at any time from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. After hours, please call our office and leave a message. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.