It is normal to experience pain, swelling, and bleeding after dental implant surgery. But these handpicked 15 best post-operative instructions for dental implants will help you know what to do when that happens.
15 Best Post-Operative Instructions for Dental Implants
1. Reducing discomfort
- To reduce the discomfort in the surgical area, avoid chewing or disturbing the area for at least an hour.
- The week after the dental implant placement, avoid hot or spicy foods. They can irritate the surgical site.
- Avoid crunchy or hard foods such as rice and popcorn. So as not to get anything stuck in the teeth.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods.
- Stick to soft foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, cheese, scrambled eggs, etc.
- Eat nutritious meals. It helps to heal faster and to regain strength. It also makes the immune system stronger.
- Do not skip meals.
According to a paper published in the International Journal of Dentistry in 2021, the implant placement surgical procedure is ‘less unpleasant than a tooth extraction, with less postsurgical pain and limitation of daily activities.’
Also Read: All-on-4 Dental Implants: What Are They?
2. Using antibiotics
- Use antibiotics to prevent infection and the medication prescribed by the doctor if the pain is severe.
- Pain medications prescribed can cause nausea or vomiting. Sip a small number of carbonated drinks like Coke or ginger tea. They help stop nausea.
- Do not operate anything you will have to concentrate on, such as driving or operating machinery, until you have recovered from the effects.
- Ensure you have food in your stomach to avoid stomach upset.
- Eating frequently and staying hydrated reduce nausea.
3. When swelling occurs
- Swelling is normal, and it could be reduced by using Ice packs. The ice pack should be placed on the cheek near the area of the surgery. Ice packs after 24 hrs to 36hrs of the surgery can also serve as pain relief.
- Do not place the compressed cold pack directly on your face. Use a fabric or cloth to prevent damaging your skin.
- Rest helps the body to recover. Avoid strenuous or physical activities for the first 48 hrs to avoid being hit in the face.
- While sleeping on the first night after the surgery, keep your head elevated. Rest your head on a double pillow. Cover the pillow with a cloth or towel to prevent bleeding if it occurs overnight.
- Do not exercise in the week after the surgery. It increases the risk of bleeding.
- Avoid any undue pressure over the surgical site while it heals.
5. Rinsing your mouth
- Do not rinse your mouth for at least 24hrs after the surgery.
- Rinse your mouth gently with a solution of warm salt water or antibacterial mouthwash as recommended by the doctor. Saltwater soothes and decreases the number of bacteria in the mouth.
6. When bleeding occurs
- Minimal bleeding is expected and normal after the surgery. It may continue for hours.
- Use a cotton swab or gauze to stop the bleeding on the extraction site. Bite the gauze firmly but do not chew vigorously. If the bleeding continues, replace the gauze with a new one and bite firmly again. And try to maintain pressure. If bleeding persists, call the dentist.
- Avoid touching the operated area with your tongue and fingers.
- Do not pull out your lip to check the surgical site.
- You may have stitches. Do not worry they will dissolve about 3 days to 2 weeks after surgery.
7. Keep the implant clean
- Keep the implant spot as clean as possible. To prevent infection, always clean your mouth after each meal beginning from the day after surgery. Keeping the mouth clean increases the healing process.
- If you want to brush around the implant area, use an extra-soft manual toothbrush and brush carefully.
- Do not use an electric toothbrush or any vibrating device.
8. Bad breath
- Bad breath is to be expected. Do not worry, it will disappear as the surgical area heals.
- Do not spit. Swallow your saliva; use a tissue to wipe your mouth if necessary.
- Chances of infection can be increased due to smoking and may delay healing.
- Smoking causes discoloration of the implant area.
- Smoking damages the growing gum around implants as well.
11. Having alcoholic, caffeine, and carbonated drinks
- Alcohol can delay the ability to heal.
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Hydration keeps you energized. It also helps the body to flush out poisonous substances called toxins. The toxin could slow down the recovery process.
- Avoid using a straw while drinking. Suction could disrupt the wound. Drink directly from the cup or use a spoon.
12. Post-op visit
- Be sure to return for post-op visits a few weeks after treatment for a check-up.
- Ensure you are on the right track to the healing process of your implants.
- Always follow your dentist’s advice for your implants’ proper functioning and health.
13. Have good dental hygiene
- Always follow your dentist’s instructions. It reduces the chances of developing an infection around the surgical site.
- Even after healing, practice proper oral hygiene.
14. Look out for side effects
- Look for side effects and any infection, bleeding, or swelling that exceeds a couple of days. If you notice anything, contact the Dentist. Persistent pain, swelling, or bleeding can indicate a complication. Contact your medical doctor or dentist if you don’t feel right.
- The stiffness of the muscles is normal. You may experience difficulty opening your mouth for days. You can use warm moist heat on the stiff outside area of your face. This can help you relax the muscles.
- You may develop a sore throat.
- You may develop a fever after the surgery; it’s normal. But if it persists, contact your doctor.
- Your lip, tongue, or cheek might be numb. Do not worry; it will correct itself.
15. Using dentures or prosthetics
- The use of prostheses or temporary dentures should be stopped until advised by the dentist.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide. Poor oral hygiene can result in irreversible tooth decay, gingivitis, tooth loss, bad breath, fungal infection, and gum diseases. Following the above 15 best post-operative instructions for dental implants, you can maintain a healthy mouth and make your dental implants last long.
World Health Organization. Oral Health. Accessed on 2 December 2022.
Kahn, A. et al (2021). Patients’ Perception of Recovery after Dental Implant Placement. Medicina, 57(10).
AlQutub, A. Pain Experience after Dental Implant Placement Compared to Tooth Extraction. International Journal of Dentistry. 2021; 2021: 4134932.