After Dental Implant Surgery

Following dental implant surgery, you must take detailed care of the area surrounding the new implant.  For the first month your implant is still integrating with the bone and tissues so your home care routine will be slightly more involved during this initial period.  Above all, do not disturb the wound in the initial days that follow surgery.  Avoid rinsing, spitting, and touching the mouth for 24 hours after surgery to avoid contaminating or irritating the surgical site.  After dental implant surgery it’s important to follow these care instructions:

  • Antibiotics – If prescribed be sure to take all prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection at the surgical site.  Twenty-four hours after the surgery, you should begin very gently using a warm saltwater rinse 4-5 times daily (preferably after every meal/snack).
  • Bleeding - Small amounts of blood in your saliva is normal during the first 24-48 hours following surgery.  We suggest gently biting on gauze pads to help control and lessen blood flow. Gently bite down on the gauze pad and try to maintain slight constant pressure, repeating as often as needed, or until bleeding lessens.  If bleeding persists try using a moistened tea bag in place of the gauze.  Do not suck on the gauze or tea bag.
  • Dealing with pain – Shortly after your dental implant surgery the anesthetic will wear off.  You should begin taking pain medication before this happens. Any over-the-counter pain medication can be taken (e.g., Tylenol®, Aleve®, ibuprofen, etc.).
  • Diet - We recommend an initial diet of soft foods for 7 days, but patients can resume a normal diet as soon as you feel capable of doing so. Try to chew on the other side of your mouth.  Stay hydrated. It is critical that you are drinking plenty of fluids.  
  • Hygiene – In order for the dental implants to heal properly, the surgical site must be kept clean. Continue to brush your teeth as you normally would, but avoid any sutures and do not brush the implant or the implant site. The antibiotic and saltwater rinses will disinfect the implant area.
  • Swelling – After dental implant surgery some amount of swelling is to be expected. To help minimize swelling, try to keep your head elevated and lower your activity level as much as possible. Use ice packs for the first 48 hours and apply intermittently ( 5 minutes on 5 minutes off) , not continuously to minimize facial swelling.
  • Wearing your prosthesis or night guard – Removable partial dentures, complete dentures, retainers, or night guards should not be used for at least 10 days following surgery. If you have one of these devices bring it with you at your 1 week post-surgery appointment. Dr. Hutton will examine the fit, adjust it as needed and advise you if and when it can be used. If there are any special circumstances, our practice will discuss those with you during your preoperative consultation.
  • Smoking – Smoking after dental implant surgery has an increased risk of infection which also increases the risk of dental implants failing to integrate. We recommend that patients do not smoke for a minimum of 2 weeks after dental implant surgery. Of course it would be best to use this opportunity to quit smoking altogether.

What does recovery involve?

While each patient’s case is different, recovery after dental implant surgery happens in a series of phases. With your new dental implants, maintaining proper oral hygiene should be your primary focus. In order for the implant to properly fuse with the jawbone, it must remain clean. Also keep in mind that when properly cared for, a dental implant can serve you for a long time.

By maintaining proper hygiene, oral discomfort should gradually lessen but some swelling, bruising, and minor bleeding may still occur. We can advise you if any symptoms persist. Feel free to continue using the pain medications. Your recovery time frame will depend on your individual case and treatment plan. Follow-up appointments will begin at one week and will continue during the healing period.

If you have questions about what to expect "after implant surgery"  or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.

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