After Surgery

Patient Instructions After Dental Implant Surgery

Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. Most patients feel like they are over the hump and on their way to recovering in 5–7 days. If you have questions, please call our office: Fargo Office Phone Number 701-232-9565.

Bleeding | Swelling and Bruising | Diet | Pain | Nausea | Antibiotics | Oral Hygiene | Activity | Wearing Your Prosthesis


Bleeding

Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting firmly on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 15–20 minutes. Repeat if necessary. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened black tea bag for 15–20 minutes. The tannic acid in the black tea helps to form a clot by contracting bleeding vessels.


Swelling, Bruising, & Discoloration

A variable amount of swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2–3 days post-operatively. 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, on 20 minutes, off 20 minutes, as much as possible, for the first 24 hours. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery.

In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2–3 days post-operatively.


Diet

We recommend stating your post-operative diet with a soft, bland diet with clear liquids such as jello and broths, gradually increasing in substance as your body permits. 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, with the exception of hard, sharp or crunchy foods, or foods with small seeds, as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.


Pain

You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you are discharged from the recovery room. For moderate pain, Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 3 tablets may be taken every 6 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed along with the Ibuprofen. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic to them, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it. The prescribed pain medication will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages.

On the third day, you will notice that your jaw muscles are stiff, and it is difficult to open your mouth normally. Getting back to your normal diet and routine will help to improve the stiffness. You may also try to stretch the jaw by opening as wide as you can and then close, do this several times per day.


Nausea and Vomiting

In the event of nausea and/or vomiting following surgery, do not take anything by mouth for at least an hour, including the prescribed medicine. You should then sip on water slowly over a 15 minute period. When the nausea subsides you can begin taking solid foods and the prescribed medicine.

Stitches

If your surgery requires stitches, they will either come untied and fall out or dissolve on their own. This usually occurs 5–7 days following the surgery, although some sutures can come out as early as the next day.


Antibiotics

If you have been placed on antibiotics, be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or any other unfavorable reaction and contact our office. If you are prescribed antibiotics and you take birth control pills, please be aware that the birth control pills might become ineffective and take appropriate precautions.


Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. The day after surgery, warm salt water rinses (one teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. of warm water) should be used at least 4–5 times a day, especially after meals. Brush your teeth. Be gentle initially while brushing the surgical areas. If you have had a tooth extraction, there will be a void where the tooth was removed. The void will fill in with new tissue gradually over the next month.


Activity

Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. You will be sleepy for a significant portion of the day. You may begin normal activities the day after surgery.


Wearing Your Prosthesis

Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures, should be worn overnight the night after your surgery. This should be the only night you wear your prosthesis overnight, unless otherwise directed by your dentist. A follow-up appointment should be made with your dentist 1–5 days after surgery for adjustments to your partial denture, flipper, or full denture.