Dental implants are a great choice to replace lost or damaged teeth and give you back a smile you can be proud of. At Soundview Family Dental, our team does everything we can to make your implant surgery as comfortable as possible, including providing you with complete post-op instructions. Following these instructions, and the tips we share below, will help you during your recovery, speed up the healing process, and help to ensure a successful implant.
After oral surgery, bleeding is normal and expected. Your surgeon will place gauze over the implant site and ask you to gently bite down on the area. Keep this gauze in place for at least an hour, replacing the gauze, as necessary. Bleeding should stop within four to six hours, but do not be surprised if you continue to see blood in your saliva. As your saliva passes over a blood clot, it can appear red and make it look like you are still bleeding. To help reduce and minimize bleeding, sit upright and sleep with your head elevated for the first 24 hours after your procedure. Avoid the implant area with your tongue as this can dislodge a clot. If persistent bleeding continues, call your dentist for additional instructions.
You may notice swelling in your face the day after your dental implant surgery. This is normal and is likely to increase, with peak swelling often occurring two to three days after your procedure. You can help to reduce swelling with the application of ice packs for the first 24 hours. Apply ice packs wrapped in a towel to your face for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to help manage the swelling. After the first 24 hours, switch to moist heat to reduce swelling. A heating pad or a warm moist towel applied to the face will help.
Pain and discomfort
You may experience mild discomfort after your implant surgery and for the first day or two during recovery. For most people, over-the-counter pain medications are enough to control any discomfort, though you may also receive prescription pain medications. Take any pain medications as directed. You should see your discomfort decrease each day. However, if you experience increased pain or discomfort, contact your dentist immediately.
In some cases, your dental surgeon may prescribe antibiotics after your dental implant procedure. You must take these antibiotics as directed and complete the entire course. This helps to reduce your risk of infections and implant failure.
After dental implant surgery, what you eat and drink is an important part of your recovery. While eating may seem difficult, it is important for your recovery to continue taking in calories and staying hydrated. However, you must also use caution. First, do not eat anything until the anesthetic wears off. For the first 24 hours, choose soft foods, such as yogurt, pasta, scrambled eggs, pancakes, mashed potatoes, or applesauce. When chewing, avoid your surgical site. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
It is best to avoid foods that are hard or require a lot of chewing. Foods such as popcorn, seeds, or potato chips should be avoided for at least a week. Avoid hot liquids for the first day. Do not use a straw for drinking as the suction required can dislodge a clot.
Activity and successful healing
What you do after your dental implant surgery plays a major role in your healing process. Your body needs time to recover, so plan on at least a full 24 hours of rest after the procedure. Avoid strenuous activities and exercise for a couple of days as this can increase swelling or cause bleeding. While eating can be difficult, it is essential to take in nourishment in order to allow your body to heal.
During your recovery, avoid smoking. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood to the implant site. This affects your healing and can increase your risk of implant failure.
Good oral hygiene is essential during the healing process, though it may seem a little different. Do not rinse your mouth or spit for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution after each meal to help remove bacteria and debris. You may brush your other teeth, however, avoid your implant area for a few weeks. You may use a soft Q-tip around the implant area to remove any debris.
A dental implant procedure and recovery is often easier than most people expect. Following your post-op instructions and these guidelines help to ensure a good recovery and increase implant success. If you have any questions about dental implants or recovery, the dental team at Soundview Family Dental is here to answer your questions. Contact us online or call the office at (425) 563-6360 today.