AFTER DENTAL IMPLANT SURGERY

As experienced oral surgeons, we understand the importance of not only the procedure itself but also the aftercare. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the post-surgery phase, providing professional insight into what to expect after dental implant surgery.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

It’s common to experience some degree of discomfort, swelling, and bruising around the surgical site. These are typical post-surgery symptoms and should not be a cause for alarm. To manage pain and swelling effectively, follow these tips:

  • On the day of surgery, avoid rinsing, spitting or touching the wound.
  • Comply with the prescribed pain medications.
  • Utilize cold compresses to reduce post-operative swelling.
  • Prioritize rest and avoid engaging in strenuous physical activities.
  • Adopt a soft-food, non-spicy diet to minimize irritation.

These initial discomforts typically subside within a few days as the body initiates its natural healing process.

BLEEDING

It’s normal to experience some bleeding or redness in the saliva for 24 hours.

How to Managing Bleeding:

While your oral surgeon at OFS Pittsburgh will provide specific instructions, here are some general tips to manage bleeding during the initial postoperative phase:

  • Apply gauze over the surgical site. Bite down gently on this gauze for 30-45 minutes to apply pressure, which can help control bleeding.
  • Avoid touching the area to minimize the risk of re-initiating bleeding.
  • Keep your head elevated and avoid lying flat for the first 24 hours to help reduce blood flow to the surgical area and minimize bleeding.
  • Apply ice packs as prescribed by your surgeon to help reduce swelling and assist in controlling bleeding.

When to Contact Your Oral Surgeon

  • If you experience excessive bleeding (your mouth fills rapidly with blood) or it worsens after the first day, contact your oral surgeon promptly.
  • If you notice dark or clotted blood instead of continuous oozing, notify your surgeon.

SWELLING

Swelling is your body’s natural response to surgery. It occurs due to increased blood flow to the surgical area and is the body’s efforts to repair and heal the tissue. Swelling typically peaks within 2–3 days post surgery. It’s essential to be patient as your body gradually reduces the swelling.

How to Managing Swelling

Here are some essential tips to manage and reduce swelling:

  • Apply a cold compress to the swollen area during the first 36 hours to constrict blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and alleviate discomfort. Ice packs should be used 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first few days post surgery.
  • Keep your head elevated while resting or sleeping to reduce fluid accumulation in the surgical site, which may contribute to swelling.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water to assist the healing process and help flush excess fluids from the body.
  • Take any prescribed anti-inflammatory medications or pain relievers as directed to manage swelling and discomfort.

When to Contact Your Oral Surgeon

  • If you experience excessive swelling after the first 48 hours it’s essential to contact your oral surgeon.

If swelling is accompanied by increasing pain, fever, or pus discharge from the surgical site, contact your surgeon immediately.

DIET

First, drink plenty of fluids, but avoid hot liquids and food for the first few days.

After dental implant surgery, it’s crucial to follow a soft and easy-to-chew diet during the initial stages of recovery. Choose nutritional foods with high calcium content to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Recommended Foods to Consider

  • Smoothies and Protein Shakes: Nutrient-rich and easy to consume, these are excellent choices to maintain your nutrition. Add leafy greens (like kale and spinach) for extra calcium.
  • Yogurt: A soft, probiotic-rich option that’s gentle on your mouth.
  • Applesauce: Smooth and easy to swallow.
  • Pudding: A sweet treat that requires minimal chewing.
  • Blended Soups: Opt for creamy soups without chunky ingredients.
  • Oatmeal: A soft and nutritious breakfast option. Try adding mashed blueberries and cinnamon for extra flavor and vitamins.
  • Scrambled Eggs and Cheese: Ensure they are thoroughly cooked and soft. Eggs provide phosphorus and the yolks contain Vitamin D, which facilitates the absorption of calcium.
  • Cottage Cheese: A soft source of protein.
  • Jello or Gelatin: A simple dessert that’s gentle on your mouth.
  • Ice Cream: A cool treat that can soothe any discomfort.
  • Mashed Avocado: A nutritious and soft option.
  • Sweet Potatoes: These contain a soft texture, high nutritional value, and essential vitamins and minerals that promote healing.

Foods to Avoid

  • Avoid alcoholic beverages: Alcohol can interfere with the body’s natural healing process, increase the risk of bleeding and swelling, and potentially interact with pain medications or antibiotics prescribed for post-surgery care.
  • Tobacco and Smoking: Smoking and tobacco use can significantly impede the healing process and increase the risk of complications. It’s crucial to refrain from smoking or using tobacco products during your recovery.
  • Hard or Crunchy Foods: Avoid foods that require significant chewing, as they can irritate the surgical site or even dislodge sutures. Stick to a soft diet during the initial stages of recovery.
  • Spicy or Hot Foods: These can cause discomfort and irritation to the surgical area, so it’s best to avoid them until you’ve fully healed.
  • Caffeine: Some pain medications or antibiotics prescribed for post-surgery care may interact with caffeine, potentially intensifying the stimulating effects of caffeine or causing adverse reactions. It is also known to have diuretic effects, which can increase the risk of dehydration.
  • Hot Beverages: Heat can irritate the surgical site or disrupt the healing process. It’s advisable to let hot beverages cool to a warm, comfortable temperature before consuming them, especially during the initial post-surgery period when the area may be sensitive.

When to Return to a Normal Diet

You can begin to eat solid food about one week after your surgery.

PAIN

Pain after dental implant surgery is a common and expected part of the healing process. It typically will subside within a few days.

Expected Pain

  • Discomfort: You can expect some discomfort, soreness, or a dull ache at the surgical site. This is natural and usually peaks within the first 48 hours after surgery.
  • Swelling: Swelling may contribute to some discomfort, especially in the initial days following surgery.

Managing Pain

You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off.

For Moderate Pain:

  • One or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours.
  • Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken four times daily, not to exceed 3200mg daily for an adult.

Consult our practice for individuals under 18. Do not take the two medications at the same time.

For Severe Pain:

For severe or throbbing pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. 

Do Not Take Medication If you are allergic to them or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it

It’s crucial to communicate openly with your oral surgeon about your level of discomfort. We can provide specific guidance and adjust your pain management plan as needed to ensure a more comfortable recovery.

ANTIBIOTICS

Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed.

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed after dental implant surgery to prevent infection and support the healing process. Fortunately, the risk of dental implant infection is relatively low.

Managing Side Effects

Inform your oral surgeon about any other medications or supplements you may be taking to prevent potential interactions with the antibiotics.

  • Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort or mild side effects while taking antibiotics. If this occurs, you can try taking the medication with food or a probiotic supplement, unless your surgeon advises otherwise.
  • Antibiotics might interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. If you’re taking birth control pills, consider using alternative contraception methods during your antibiotic course.

ORAL HYGIENE

Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. 

Day 1 (Night of surgery/first 24 hours after surgery):

  • Use the prescribed Peridex Oral Rinse before bed

It’s very important that you do not rinse, brush your teeth or spit.

Day 2–3:

  • Use the Peridex Oral Rinse twice daily; after breakfast and before bed. 
  • Rinse for a minimum of 30 seconds then spit it out. 
  • Warm salt water rinses (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day, especially after meals. 
  • Brush your teeth and the healing abutments. Be gentle initially while brushing the surgical areas.

Day 4 and Beyond (up to 6 weeks):

  • Follow the same instructions as days 2 and 3, however

As time elapses, you can rinse with more force.

ACTIVITY

Limit physical activity and avoid strenuous exercise immediately after dental implant surgery. 

Bear in mind that you may not be consuming regular nutrition which could make you feel weaker and limit your ability to exercise.

  • Prioritize Rest and Recovery: Your body needs time to heal, so avoid strenuous activities.
  • Limit Heavy Lifting: Steer clear of heavy lifting or physically demanding tasks in the initial days after your dental implant placement.
  • Engage in Gentle Activity: Light activities like walking can help with circulation, but consult your oral surgeon for guidance.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you experience discomfort or complications during physical activity, stop and get in touch with your oral surgeon.

WEARING YOUR PROSTHESIS

It may be crucial to wait to use your partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures, as advised in your pre-surgery consultation. This waiting period is important for a smoother and more successful recovery, which will ultimately support the long-term success of your new smile. Every patient may experience a slightly different plan for the use of temporary prostheses and this should be discussed with the surgeons and restoring dentist. In some cases it is appropriate to wear the temporary prosthesis immediately.

You can schedule an appointment online or over the phone.

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