What You Should Do Directly After Surgery and Beyond
Dental implants can change lives, but it is extremely important to care for them properly. When you care properly for your implants, you can enjoy a more complete smile, better chewing, and better speaking for years to come – perhaps even a lifetime. However, without proper care, you can expect a lengthier healing process, additional surgery, or even dental implant failure.
To help you, we’ve assembled this list of tips you should follow both directly after your surgery and once you have fully recovered. This list should help you get on the road to healthy implants for life. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact your dental healthcare professional.
Directly After Surgery
Control bleeding: For the first 24 hours, it’s normal to experience some bleeding or redness in the saliva. If bleeding is fast and uncontrolled, spend 1-2 hours biting down on a gauze pad placed directly over the wound. Then replace or discard the pad. However, if bleeding continues beyond this, call your dental healthcare professional right away for more instructions.
Control swelling: While swelling is normal, you will want to take steps to control it. Place an ice pack over the cheek of the area affected by the surgery. You’ll want to keep it there as much as possible for up to 36 hours. (A bag of frozen peas will also do the trick, as it will conform more precisely to your cheek than an ice pack or bag of ice.)
Watch your diet: Avoid very hot liquids and food, straws, and hard foods directly after surgery. Eat soft foods and liquids instead. You should be able to return to a normal diet very soon after surgery.
Manage your medication: Take all antibiotics (if prescribed) as directed until they are gone. Make sure you discuss pain management with your dentist or oral surgeon before your surgery. Some will recommend that you stick to taking ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relief before using narcotics or opiates. No matter what your dental healthcare professional recommends, follow their instructions exactly. Also, be sure to notify their office if you experience increased pain or swelling after 4-5 days.
Practice good oral hygiene: Brush, floss, and rinse your mouth thoroughly before surgery. (Your dental healthcare professional may prescribe certain rinses to you. If so, use them.) After surgery, be sure to use any prescription rinses or oral healthcare products you were prescribed. Brush your teeth as normal, but be gentle around the area where the implant was installed.
Schedule your follow-up appointment: Your dental healthcare professional will probably want to see you soon after your surgery to ensure everything is healing as it should. Schedule your follow-up appointment as soon as possible, and be sure to attend the appointment as scheduled.
Once Recovery Is Complete
Once your implants have fully healed, caring for them is much the same as caring for your natural teeth. Be sure to brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist may also prescribe or recommend additional oral care products or cleaning aids. If that’s the case, be sure to follow his or her instructions.
With the right care, your dental implants can last a lifetime, giving you a smile you can be proud of. Never be afraid to ask questions to make sure you fully understand how to care for your teeth. Your dental healthcare professional is here to help!