After Implant Surgery
You’ve just had dental implant surgery and you’re all set with your shiny new teeth! But what do you do now? First things first, right after your surgery, we will take you to our recovery room and make sure that you don’t head home until you are well enough. We want to be as much help as possible to you throughout this experience and we will be right by your side throughout the initial recovery stage. Once you’re well enough to leave, our team will make sure that you are stable and tell you some things you should do to ensure a speedy and healthy recovery. But what if you forget? Well don’t worry about that, because we have some helpful tips right here that should help keep you on track!
Things to Expect
- Bleeding – Bleeding is going to occur after virtually any surgery. Don’t be alarmed if your wound oozes blood for 24 to 48 hours after your surgery, it’s completely normal. Keep in mind that, when you bleed from your mouth, it seems like a lot more blood than it actually is because a small amount of blood is mixing with the large amount of saliva in your mouth.
- Swelling – This is a normal and healthy part of your body’s healing process and should not be a cause for concern. Swelling will continue to increase until about two to three days after surgery, at which point it should begin to reduce steadily.
- Nausea – Some – but not all – people experience nausea and vomiting after implant surgery. If you find yourself feeling sick, you don’t need to be worried. There are many reasons you might be sick after your surgery, including blood swallowed during and after the operation and reactions to the anesthesia and pain medication.
- Sore throat – This is a relatively common side effect of oral surgery. Swallowing may be a bit painful due to the swelling of the muscles around your throat. This should go away by itself in two to three days.
- Stiff jaw – Due to the aforementioned swollen muscles, you may feel resistance to opening your mouth wide for a few days. Sretching your muscles can help to relieve jaw stiffness quicker.
- Sharp edges – Because the bony walls that once supported your, now-extracted, teeth still remain in your mouth, you may feel something hard or sharp around the implant site. This is normal, and at times, small pieces of bone even manage to work their way out of the gums. If this causes you any concern or discomfort, contact us online or call us at 210.824.0111 for more information.
- Bruising – Because the area beneath the tissues will often bruise after dental implant surgery, you may begin to notice discoloration around the surgical site two to three days after your surgery. This is very normal, but if you are unhappy with discoloration, you can help to speed up the healing process by applying moist heat to the discolored area beginning 36 hours after the surgery.
Things to Aid Your Recovery
- Avoid disturbing the wound – You don’t want to accidentally increase your bleeding or knock your dental implant loose while in its initial healing phase, so try not to touch the wound with your fingers, tongue or any other objects.
- To combat swelling – While swelling after a surgery is completely normal, we realize it can be uncomfortable. An ice pack held firmly to the cheek outside of the surgical area can help keep swelling to a minimum. Apply the ice in 20-minute shifts with 20-minute breaks for the first 24 hours after the surgery. Sleeping propped up on two to three pillows can also aid in reducing swelling.
- To combat bleeding – To reduce bleeding immediately after your surgery, bite down firmly on a gauze pack for an hour. If the bleeding persists after the first hour, continue to bite down on gauze and switch it out every 30 to 45 minutes. Though bleeding is common, if you feel that yours is severe, try repositioning your gauze, because it may be clenched in a way that does not put pressure on the surgical area. If your bleeding still persists, be sure to sit upright in a recliner or propped up on a few pillows and use gauze or a moistened tea bag clenched onto the surgical area for one hour. The tannic acid in tea leaves helps to get your blood to clot. If none of that works, contact us online or call 210.824.0111 for further instructions.
- No smoking – You should not smoke until the surgical wound has fully healed. Smoking is detrimental to your dental health in general, and after implant surgery it can increase your risk of slow healing, discomfort and dry sockets.
- Diet – It is of vital importance that you maintain a good diet after dental implant surgery. If you aren’t getting enough of the proper nutrients from the foods you eat, it will slow your healing process. Wait until your anesthesia has worn off and the sensation in your tongue has returned before you begin eating. Once you can safely do so, eat any nourishing foods that you can. Sometimes it can help to only eat liquid or pureed foods for the first few days to combat tenderness, but this is not required. You should avoid hot foods, hot drinks and straws. The sucking motion used when drinking from a straw increases bleeding in the surgical area.
- Dental care – Keeping your dental implants free from bacteria is very important to ensuring your healthy recovery. Beginning on the night of your surgery you should clean your other teeth as normal with your toothbrush. At first, steer clear of the surgical site, but once it’s no longer too sensitive, gently begin to brush the surgical site along with your other teeth. Additionally, a warm salt mouthwash, containing a cup of warm water with ½ teaspoon of salt, should be applied to the surgical site two to three times a day. Be sure to keep food away from the wound and rinse your mouth out after eating. If you follow these tips, you should be on your way toward a healthy, bacteria-free dental implant.
- To combat pain – After your surgery and before your anesthetic has worn off, take your prescription pain medication to help manage your pain in the initial stages of your recovery. If your pain medication isn’t working, you can supplement each pain pill with a medicine such as aspirin or ibuprofen. If your pain is frequent and won’t go away, contact us online or call 210.824.0111 for more information.
- Physical activity – You’ve just had a surgery, so we think you deserve to relax. In fact, we highly recommend it. Strenuous physical activities should be avoided for the first three to four days after your surgery. Because your normal fluid and caloric intake is reduced, you won’t have as much energy to exercise as you’re used to. Over exerting yourself can be a great detriment to your healing process, increasing bleeding, swelling and discomfort. So, sit back, relax and take a few days off.
Remember, while you can use this information as reference, you should always defer to the advice of your dentist or surgeon. With our team’s help, you’re sure to be healed and in possession of a nice new smile in no time! Feel free to contact us online or call 210.824.0111 for any questions or additional information!