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What should I do after receiving a dental implant?

It’s important not to disturb your wound by biting, playing, rinsing, spitting or touching your dental implant surgery site.

Congratulations on receiving your dental implant! Here are some basic instructions on what to look out for in the next coming days. Keep in mind, these guidelines are for when you’ve received the implant post (screw) surgery. For instructions on what to do after receiving your implant crown, please refer to our crown post-op section instead:

Avoid the surgery site

It’s important not to disturb your wound by biting or playing with it. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching your dental implant surgery site. Occasionally, there will be a small metal healing cap level with or just above the gum tissue. Avoid playing with this as it can lead to implant failure!

Don’t spit!

It’s normal to experience some bleeding or redness in the saliva during the first 24 hours. Excessive bleeding, where your mouth fills up rapidly with blood, can be controlled by biting firmly on one or two gauze pads. Place the gauze pad directly on your bleeding wound and apply pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. Continue switching gauze for an hour as instructed or until the bleeding stops. If you’re having trouble with the bleeding, a nice little trick that helps too is placing a wet tea bag on the implant site. This usually gets the bleeding under control in less than an hour. However, should the bleeding continue and show no signs of slowing down, call us or go to the nearest emergency room. This is especially the case for patients who are on blood thinners and high blood pressure medications.

Use an ice-pack

Keep in mind, swelling is a normal occurrence after all surgeries, including dental implants. To minimize swelling, try applying an ice pack or towel filled with ice onto your cheeks. Apply the ice pack on-and-off every 20 minutes or so. If needed, continue this routine for a few hours or throughout the first day.

Modify your diet

You should drink plenty of fluids. However, it’s best to avoid hot liquids and foods. Stick with soft food and liquids on the day of your surgery. You can return to a normal diet, with the exception of hard crunchy food, within 2 to 3 days, unless otherwise directed. Hard foods to avoid include bread, meat and raw vegetables. There are occasions where your dentist would ask you to stay on a soft diet for weeks or months after the surgery. Each case is different and your dentist will instruct you on how long you should modify your diet for.

Take your medication

Begin taking your pain medication and antibiotics before you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For mild-to-moderate pain, take 400 to 800 mg of Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or 1 to 2 Tylenol 500 mg pills. For severe pain, we typically prescribe strong controlled substance medication, which should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic, or have been instructed by your physician not to take it. Avoid taking painkillers with alcoholic beverages as it can cause serious side-effects

Modify your oral hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential to proper healing. Use warm salt water rinse (teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) at least 4 to 5 times a day, especially after meals. Rinse gently, not forcibly. You can start brushing your teeth the day after surgery, however be gentle in the area of the surgery. Avoid using an electric toothbrush on your dental implant for the first few weeks, as this could cause implant failure. Either use a manual toothbrush, or turn off your electric brush when approaching the implant site. No Waterpiking is allowed on the implant site for a few weeks as well.

Avoid strenuous physical activity

Keep physical activities to a minimum following implant surgery. Heavy exercising may cause throbbing, swelling or bleeding and can cause implant failure or infection. Typically, for the first one to two weeks you need to avoid strenuous exercises. However jogging, yoga and light workout is acceptable after 1 to 2 days.

We hope you find this information helpful and wish you a speedy recovery. If you have any other questions about implant surgery, please call us at (949) 481-2540 or come in for a check-up today.