Implants Post-Operative Instructions
Following these instructions will provide the best chance possible for your dental implant to begin healing properly and later function like a natural tooth. Generally, having dental implant surgery is much less painful than having wisdom teeth removed. Many of our patients report very minimal discomfort, if any at all. Keep in mind that each patient is an individual and will experience different levels of discomfort. If at any time, you feel that something you are experiencing is not normal, or you have questions, please feel free to contact our office at 408-720-0900.
After surgery, it is normal to have some oozing of blood in the surgical area. Keep firm, continuous pressure on the gauze throughout the day. Change the gauze once every hour, only while the bleeding continues. Once the bleeding has stopped, discontinue use of the gauze. The bleeding should be well controlled at the end of the first day. If you have uncontrolled bleeding or heavy bleeding beyond the first day, please contact our office.
If you have had a bone grafting procedure, it is important to bite on gauze for the first 3 hours regardless of whether the site is bleeding or not. Following these instructions will help to establish a proper blood clot, which aids in healing of the bone grafting site. Change the gauze every hour for the first 3 hours, and if the bleeding has stopped, discontinue using the gauze. You may also notice some very small, whitish particles on the gauze or around the surgical site, this is normal. In most cases, a small collagen sponge will have been placed over the bone graft to help control oozing. It occasionally becomes displaced from the site or falls out. This does not represent a problem and the bone graft will continue to heal normally. If you see that the collagen sponge has fallen out, do not be alarmed, you have not lost your bone graft.
In most cases, a small metal cap called a healing abutment will be screwed into the top of your dental implant at the time of surgery. If you have a healing abutment, it will be visible in your mouth. Its purpose is to shape the gum tissue into a more proper form for your permanent crown and to avoid any additional surgical procedures on the implant. Your healing abutment is temporary and will remain in your mouth only during the healing phase. Occasionally, healing abutments become loose. If you notice that the abutment becomes loose, or falls out, please call our office immediately, and we will replace it.
You may or may not have stitches in the surgical site. If you do, our surgical staff will inform you before you are released from our office. Usually, they will be the dissolving type of suture that will break down and fall out themselves within the first 5-10 days following surgery.
As soon as you leave the office, you may begin to eat soft foods. It is a good idea to eat something when you get home so you can begin to take your prescribed medications. We recommend things like milkshakes, fruit juices, mashed potatoes, soups, and soft pasta. Avoid small, hard foods such as popcorn, granola, and nuts, which may become lodged in the surgical site. Drink plenty of fluids to help avoid dehydration.
Apply an ice pack to the outside of your face over the surgical area to help reduce swelling. Begin using ice packs as soon as you get home. Apply the ice pack for 15 minutes, followed by a 15 minute rest. Continue this for the first 24 hours, as much as possible, while you’re awake. It’s normal for swelling to continue to increase for the first 2-3 days following surgery. Keeping your head elevated while resting and sleeping will also decrease swelling.
Resting and avoiding strenuous activity for the first 2-3 days following surgery will allow your body to heal more quickly and will minimize swelling. Avoid any activity or sport that may expose you to a blow to the mouth or jaw until your implant has healed completely.
Wearing your Prosthesis
Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures may or may not be worn immediately. Dr Antonious will give you specific instructions on what is best for your particular situation.
Medications frequently prescribed following dental implant surgery
Taking the medication that your doctor has prescribed for you will help you to effectively manage any discomfort you may experience. Please follow the directions on your prescription bottle and call our office if you have any questions. Keep in mind that taking your medications before your local anesthetic wears off will help you to manage your discomfort more easily. It is important for you to have something to eat before you take any kind of medication. This will help to minimize the occurrence of nausea or vomiting. The following are common medications that are frequently prescribed for patients who have had dental implant surgery:
Ibuprofen– This is an anti-inflammatory medication that reduces swelling and relieves minor pain. Even if you are not in immediate pain, taking the Ibuprofen as directed will help to minimize swelling and make you more comfortable. Many of our patients are able to manage their discomfort with Ibuprofen alone.
Vicodin– (generic name is hydrocodone) this is a narcotic pain medication that is sometimes prescribed to relieve pain. You may use it in conjunction with Ibuprofen, if needed. However, you should not take it with Tylenol, it already contains Tylenol.
Antibiotics– These are only prescribed when your doctor feels that they are necessary for you. Please take them according to the directions on the bottle until they are gone.
Peridex– (generic name is chlorhexidine) this is a mouth rinse- begin rinsing with this the day following surgery. It is intended to help keep the surgical area clean and reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Continue using it until you return to our office for your one week follow up visit.
Post-operative Instructions: Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When can I take the gauze out?
A: Please leave the gauze in for one hour after you leave our office. If the bleeding has stopped, there is no need to have the gauze placed over the surgical area.
Q: When can I eat?
A: Two hours following your appointment.
Q: What can I expect with regard to swelling?
A: Everybody is different but swelling can develop up to 2-3 days following surgery. Please use ice off and on for thirty minutes for the first 24 hours. If swelling persists after 24 hours, please use a heating pad. Discontinue ice completely.
Q: What if a stitch comes out?
A: A stitch may come loose and pull out during the first few days after surgery. This is of no concern unless brisk bleeding follows. The first thing to do if bleeding occurs would be to use the gauze with firm pressure for 45 minutes.
Q: I still have bleeding, what can I do?
A: Some bleeding is normal up to 24 hours following surgery. Please bite firmly on a gauze pack over the surgical site for one hour at a time. Keep your head elevated in an upright position without much movement to keep your blood pressure down to aide in stopping the bleeding. If excessive bleeding persists, wipe your mouth clean and place a damp tea bag wrapped in damp gauze over the surgery area and apply pressure for one hour. Avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting. Do not use a straw and also avoid smoking and strenuous activity which can aggravate bleeding.
Q: Do I need an antibiotic?
A: The doctors evaluate each case individually and all cases do not require antibiotics. However, if you have been prescribed an antibiotic, please take it until it is all gone.
Q: What about pain medication?
A: If you have been prescribed a pain medication, please take it within an hour or two following surgery to allow it time to get into your system before the local anesthetic wears off. If you prefer to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil, please take it within two hours following surgery. Please do not take Aspirin or Aspirin containing medications because it increases bleeding tendencies. Remember no drinking alcohol or driving while taking any narcotic medication such as Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine or Percocet, etc.
Q: Is it okay that there is a big hole where my surgery was?
A: Often times the body wants to heal extraction wounds from the bottom to the top and a hole will form. Over the next 1-2 months the hole will usually heal completely. Do not be alarmed.
Q: When can I resume my normal sports activities?
A: Please allow 3-4 days before resuming strenuous activity. Exertion can increase your blood pressure which will lead to bleeding. Also you need to rest to aide in your healing. Please refrain from vigorous activity while taking a prescription pain reliever.