After Placement of Dental Implants
Home Instructions After Dental Implant Surgery
Our concern and interest in your care does not cease at the end of your surgery. Proper home care is exceedingly important, especially in the case of an implant. The care of an implant requires a level of attention similar to your other teeth, if not more. The following is a guideline with recommendations for the appropriate care of your new investment.
To control pain, please take the medications prescribed by the doctor as indicated. If you do not achieve adequate pain relief, you may supplement the medication with Aspirin, Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, or ibuprofen. Taking medication with soft food and a large amount of water will lessen any side effects of nausea or stomach upset. Avoid alcoholic beverages and do not drive while taking prescribed medications.
Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. Avoid alcoholic beverages during your course of antibiotics. If you are on birth control, please be sure to use another form of contraception as antibiotics may lower the effectiveness of the pill. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or any other unfavorable reaction and contact our office immediately. Call the office if you have any questions.
Some oozing of blood is to be expected for the first 6–12 hours. Gauze has been placed at the surgical site and should be changed every 45 minutes until the bleeding stops. Please remove the gauze when eating or drinking and prior to going to bed at night as it is considered a choking hazard.
Swelling is normal and to be expected, usually reaching a maximum in 48 hours. This is a frequent aftermath of oral surgery and may persist for as long as a week. To minimize swelling, cold packs or an ice bag wrapped in a towel should be applied repeatedly for 20 minutes on and off during the first 24 hours after surgery. After the first 24 hours, the recommendation is to switch from using the cold pack to applying moist heat at 20-minute intervals until the swelling has receded. To achieve this, you may put a wet wash cloth in the microwave for 10–15 seconds. You may also use a heating pad, but be sure to wrap it in a warm cloth so that your skin does not dry out.
Continued proper oral hygiene is imperative. Normal care should be maintained, and in most cases the individual can brush and floss gently the following morning, being careful to avoid excess trauma to the surgical site.
Please start your mouth rinses after your surgical procedure unless otherwise directed. Use half a teaspoon of salt with an 8-oz cup of room-temperature water and rinse after meals for seven days. Do not use any other mouthwash unless specifically advised. If the doctor has prescribed a mouth rinse (Peridex), use it once at bedtime on the day of surgery and then as follows: once after breakfast, once in the afternoon (approximately 3:00pm), and once before bedtime for seven days after surgery (i.e., every eight hours). Do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after the rinse. After the first week, the Peridex should be applied to the surgical site or implant healing abutment with a soft toothbrush for an additional week.
Avoid hot liquids or food until the numbness is gone. A soft-food diet should be maintained for 3–5 days following surgery. You may eat anything soft by chewing away from the surgical sites. A high-calorie, high-protein intake is very important. Our staff can provide suggested diet instructions. You should prevent dehydration by taking fluids regularly. At least 5–6 glasses of liquid should be taken daily. Try not to miss any meals; you will feel better, heal faster, and have more strength and less discomfort if you continue to eat.
In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal postoperative occurrence that may occur 2–3 days later. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking in normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise. For seven days following surgery, refrain from rigorous activities, exercise, swimming, heavy lifting, and using instruments with mouthpieces.
Wearing your Prosthesis
Partial dentures, flippers, and full dentures may be worn immediately. However, there may be times that Dr. Gulati will request that you not wear your prosthesis for at least 10 days following surgery. This will be discussed at the time of your preoperative consultation.
Your case is unique; no two mouths are alike. Discuss any problems with the trained experts best able to effectively help you: Dr. Gulati or your family dentist. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office or page Dr. Gulati at the number provided in the home care packet provided to you on the day of your surgery.