After Implant Placement
After the Placement of Dental Implants
Now that you've had dental implant surgery, you probably have lots of questions:
Hopefully, we've had a chance to address many of your concerns before leaving the office today. But just in case we didn't, or if you need a reminder, here is some information about what to expect following surgery.
Please note: The day of your surgery, please do not disturb the surgical area. Do not use any over the counter mouth washes. Do not brush the surgical area or disturb the gum tissue.
Can I Drive Home?
If you were sedated for your procedure or are currently taking prescribed narcotics, it is recommended for the next 24 hours you should not drive a vehicle, operate machinery or power tools, drink alcoholic beverages or make any important decisions.
Some oozing of blood from the surgical site is common after dental implants. This may occur for up to 48-72 hours following surgery. Dr. Tolley has placed gauze sponges over the surgical site. Please continue to bite down firmly on these sponges for the first hour after surgery to help stop any bleeding. Please remember spitting and rinsing aggravates and stimulates bleeding. Also, bleeding from the nose is common If you had implants placed in the upper jaw or if you had a sinus graft procedure. Do not blow your nose. It is recommended to only blot and apply pressure to the nose bleed site.
What If the Oozing Is Heavy?
Oozing can be quite heavy after some procedures. If the bleeding seems heavy, take two gauze sponges folded into fourths, or a moistened regular (not decaf or herbal) tea bag wrapped in gauze, and placed over the bleeding site. Bite down firmly for one hour without changing. Repeat the procedure if bleeding continues. In most cases, this will greatly reduce the amount of oozing. If active bleeding continues despite these measures, please call the office and let us know.
When Can I Have Something to Eat?
About an hour after surgery, you may remove the gauze sponges that have been placed in your mouth and have something to eat. Be sure to eat foods that are soft for the first 24 hours after surgery. Avoid hot foods and drinks for several hours after surgery. Also do not drink from a straw for at least 24 hours. These precautions will give your mouth a better chance to heal properly.
Will My Recovery Time Be Painful?
During your surgery, you were given local anesthesia that will begin to wear off within 4-6 hours. Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. A prescription for pain will be given to you. This should be taken as directed on the label. If you take the first dose before the local anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage your pain better. Some patients find that the pain medication may cause some nausea; this can be avoided by eating a small amount of food prior to taking pain medication. Often Ibuprofen will be all that is necessary to control any discomfort. Take 600 mg Ibuprofen every 6 hours on the clock, and continue for the next 3 days to help reduce inflammation, pain and swelling.
Follow the directions on the medication bottle to know how much you should take. Be sure to call during regular office hours if the pain seems to be worsening instead of getting better after 5 to 7 days.
It's not unusual for pain medications to cause nausea or even vomiting in some people. If this happens, try eating prior to or decreasing the amount of medication you're taking. Over the counter pain medications cause less GI upset than narcotics. Try these if the narcotics seem to bother your stomach. If you still feel ill, stop taking the medication and call us during regular office hours so we can prescribe something else for your pain. DO NOT drive a motor vehicle, operate machinery or drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription pain medication.
Will My Face Become Swollen?
Swelling often occurs as part of the natural healing process, especially after bone grafting procedures. Facial swelling usually increases for 3 to 4 days after oral surgery, soon after that it will begin to subside. The swelling may make it difficult to open your mouth wide or to swallow. You may also notice some bruising on your face where the surgery was done, or experience numbness or tingling of the lip and/or tongue on the affected side. If you had implants placed on both sides of your mouth, it's not uncommon for one side to be more swollen or uncomfortable that the other. It will also help to keep your head elevated. You may notice some tightness of the jaw muscles, various aches or pains throughout your face.
In most cases, you can help minimize the amount of swelling by applying an ice pack to your face over the area where surgery was done for the first 24 hours. If you had surgery on both sides, switch the ice pack from one side to the other every 30 minutes.
After 24 hours, you may apply warm compresses to the skin over the area of the implant (hot water bottle, heating pad, or warm moist towels) for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to help soothe tender areas.
Is It Normal to Run a Temperature After Surgery?
It is normal to run a low grade fever (99-100) for 7-10 days following oral surgery. This reflects your immune response to the normal bacteria that are present in your mouth. A high temperature (>101F) might exist for 6-8 hours after surgery but no more than that. We request that you not take your temperature orally due to the increased risk of contamination of bacteria that can cause an infection.
Why Do I Need to Take an Antibiotic?
Dental implant surgery requires antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics are used to prevent infection on or around the dental implant or bone graft. It is important that you follow the dosage directions on the bottle and continue taking the medication until it's finished. If you should develop a reaction to the medication, such as skin rash, stop taking the medication and call our office.
Please note that some antibiotics can interfere with the ability of birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. If you normally use oral contraceptives, please be sure to use an additional method of birth control during your current menstrual cycle.
Will I Have Sutures (Stitches)?
Most oral surgical procedures require suturing the tissue together to aid healing. Most of the sutures we use fall out themselves over 3 – 5 days. Some sutures may need to be removed or take longer to dissolve.
Can I Brush My Teeth?
Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. AFTER 24 HOURS you may use a warm salt water rinse to sooth your mouth, keep it clean, promote healing and reduce inflammation. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of salt in an 8 ounce glass of water taking 5 minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat as often as you would like but at least two to three times a day. You may return to your normal oral hygiene routine including flossing and a water pick, still taking care not to disturb the surgical site. Soreness and swelling may prevent vigorous brushing but it is important to make every possible effort to clean your teeth.
Can I Smoke?
No. Smoking of any kind after oral surgery interferes with the normal healing process and can increase your chances of developing an infection, failure of the implant and or bone grafts. Smokers have a higher risk of implant failure.
How Soon Can I Resume My Normal Activities?
You can resume light activities as soon as you feel up to it. We do ask, though, that you limit strenuous activities for about 3 days. Do not perform activities which require coordination or concentration while taking narcotic pain medication; this includes driving.
When Will I Get My Teeth?
This depends on how, where and what type of implant or grafting surgery you had done. Usually lower jaw implants are ready for teeth (integrated) 4 months after surgery. Upper jaw implants require 6 months of healing before the teeth are placed. There are special procedures when the implants can have temporary teeth placed on them right after implant placement. Your surgeon would have discussed that with you if you were a candidate.
Do I Need a Follow up Appointment?
Yes. Dr. Tolley usually wants to see you 3 weeks following the surgery. Then he will need to see you to either test the healing torque of the implant, or for the second stage procedure to uncover the implant and place the healing abutment if your implant was placed as a two-stage treatment. This is usually 2 to 4, or 4 to 6 months after the implant surgery. If you had only a bone graft, the implants are usually placed 3 to 4 months following the grafting procedure.
Regular Office Hours:
Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
If you are having pain that is unmanageable, or if you have any serious concerns about your healing, please do not hesitate to call us at
(850) 386-4602. We can answer any questions that you have, and if necessary, we can see you before your post-operative appointment.