Dental Implants – Post-Operative Instructions
Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. In some cases (one-stage procedure) there will be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue.
Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels. To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.
Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag, or a plastic bag, or towel filled with ice on the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice 30 min every 4 hours for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, ice has no beneficial effect and it is contraindicated. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. Forty eight hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face 20 min every 6 hours is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.
Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or food. Soft food and liquids should be eaten on the day of surgery. Return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.
You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken. Ibuprofen, bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets. Two to three tablets may be taken every three to four hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.
Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Warm salt-water rinses (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 5 min every 6 hours, especially after meals. Brushing your teeth with the healing abutments is not a problem. Be gentle initially when brushing the surgical areas.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.
You may return in 1-2 weeks (as directed by your surgeon) to evaluate the surgical area.