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What should I do after receiving a dental implant?

Avoid biting, rinsing, spitting or touching your dental implant surgery site

Congratulations on receiving your dental implant! Dental implants are the best way to replace your missing teeth. However, placing a dental implant does require surgery, and there are things to watch out for just like any other surgery. Here are some basic things to look out for in the next coming days. Note that these guidelines are for when you receive the implant post (screw). For instructions on what to do after receiving your implant crown, please refer to our crown post-op instructions instead:

Avoid the surgery site

It’s extremely important not to disturb your wound in the first 2 to 3 days. Avoid biting or playing with your implant. Do not rinse, spit, or touch your surgery site. Occasionally, there will be a small metal healing at or above your gum tissue. Don’t play with it, or it can cause your implant to fail!

Don’t spit

It’s normal to experience bleeding during the first few days. 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 the wound and apply firm pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. Continue switching out your gauze packs for an hour or until the bleeding stops. If you’re having trouble controlling the bleeding, a nice little trick is to place a wet tea bag on the surgery site. This usually gets the bleeding under control in 10 to 15 minutes. However, should the bleeding continue and show no signs of slowing down, then contact your dentist or go to the nearest emergency room. This is especially important for patients who are on a blood thinner and those with suffering from very high blood pressure.

Use an ice-pack

Swelling is a normal occurrence after all surgeries. You can minimize the swelling by applying an ice pack, or towel filled with ice, to your cheeks. Apply the ice pack on-and-off every 20 minutes. If needed, continue this routine for a few hours throughout the first two to three days.

Modify your diet

You should drink plenty of fluids during your recovery period. Eat like an infant for the first two to three days. You can return to a normal diet in 2 to 3 days, with the exception of hard and crunchy food items, unless directed otherwise. Hard foods to avoid include bread, steak, nuts, and raw vegetables. Occasionally, your dentist may ask yo u to stay on a soft diet for weeks or even months after the surgery. Each case is different and your dentist will instruct you on how long you need to modify your diet.

Take your medications

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 of the implant. Use warm salt water rinse, a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, 2 to 3 times a day. Be sure to rinse gently and not forcibly. Don’t be too eager to clean your surgery site either. You can start brushing your teeth the day after your surgery, however, you must avoid the surgery site. Do not use 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 either for the first few weeks. The success of your implant is more important than your oral hygiene. If you feel that you’re teeth start to become dirty, schedule an additional dental cleaning one to two months after your implant surgery.

Avoid strenuous physical activities

Keep physical activities to a minimum following implant surgery. Heavy exercising may cause throbbing, swelling, or bleeding which can cause implant failure. Therefore, avoid strenuous exercises for the first week. Jogging, yoga, and light workouts are acceptable after the first 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 contact your dentist or surgeon for further instructions.