DENTAL IMPLANT POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
You have just received an implant/s or decided in favor of such a therapy, a state-of-the-art tooth replacement treatment option that requires proper care and maintenance. The quality of recovery depends largely on self-care. The after effects of oral surgery vary from person to person; therefore not all of these instructions will apply to you. Please feel free to call our office at any time if you have any questions or are experiencing any unusual symptoms following your treatment.
SURGERY AND HEALING PERIOD
The implant is inserted in the jaw bone under local anesthetic and/or IV/General sedation. If sutures are placed they will remain for 7 to 14 days depending on your situation.
During the healing period, the implant will be fitted with a healing cap. This healing cap may be exposed or covered by your gum tissue depending upon your treatment. Your general dentist and you may choose to have a temporary restoration (e.g. a crown, bridge, flipper, or denture). Your temporary restoration may not be able to be placed or worn for 7 to 10 days following the surgery. You will be instructed as to the waiting period by the doctor before you leave following the procedure. If you’re temporary restoration becomes loose call your general dentist but if the healing cap falls off or appears loose then you need to call Dr. Sutley.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS AFTER SURGERY
Implantation is a routine procedure and complications are rare. Nonetheless, you may experience some discomfort and other side effects following surgery. Should you experience any side effects, it is important to know how to react to the situation. We will provide you with an after hours phone number for you to call if you have questions post-operatively.
Some bleeding (oozing) is normal and should be expected. It is important to know that blood-tinged saliva may be present for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Bleeding is best controlled with pressure. The gauze that was placed over the surgical site(s) helps to control your bleeding. Keep closed with a light pressure on this gauze for 1 hour after surgery to allow a blood clot to form. You do not need to replace the gauze pad at this time if no actual bleeding is present. If, after removing the first gauze pad you are still bleeding, place the additional gauze provided over the surgical site(s) and continue with pressure for another 1 hour. If you run out of gauze, and bleeding persists, a moist tea bag can also be effective. Keep your head elevated and apply an ice pack to your cheek. You may even suck on ice chips.
SWELLING AND BRUISING
Swelling and bruising is normal and can be expected after surgery. To help prevent swelling, ice packs should be applied to the side of your face next to the surgery sites for at least the first 24 to 48 hours. The ice should be applied for a period of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Swelling usually reaches its peak 72 hours after surgery. After the initial 48 hour period, application of warm moist heat is suggested, (after 48 hours ice does not help reduce swelling) although if ice feels better you may use it. Bruising may be evident up to one week after surgery and swelling can be reduced by using heat packs and massage over a 5 to 10 day period. Keep your head elevated above chest level during the first two days and nights after surgery. Sitting is better than lying down.
PAIN AND MEDICATIONS
After you leave the surgery center, go get something to eat and pick-up your prescriptions. You can take the prescribed narcotic pain medicine before the local anesthetic wears off. As the discomfort decreases you can substitute Tylenol for the prescribed narcotic medication. For moderate pain, 1 or 2 Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken alternately with Tylenol as well. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken every 3-4 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic to them, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.
In the first few hours after surgery, your ability to drive may be impaired depending on the type of anesthesia and pain medication you are given. Ask your oral surgeon how you may be affected.
Keep your head elevated throughout the day. Sitting is better than lying down. At night, position your head higher than the rest of your body. While sleeping, avoid resting your head on the side where the surgery took place.
EATING AND DRINKING
Drinking is possible soon after surgery, but it is best to avoid hot drinks. Failure to drink at least 1 quart of fluids per day may lead to dehydration and temperature elevation. Eat soft foods for the first couple days up to a week depending on how you feel. Avoid biting and chewing on the implant surgical site. Avoid putting pressure on the implant/s. Eat prior to taking pain medications to help avoid nausea.
Irritants can cause complications and delay in healing. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid alcohol, nicotine, coffee, black tea, and fresh milk products for the first three days after surgery. Do not smoke. Smoking will slow the healing process, therefore it is best to refrain from smoking for at least one week after surgery.
Do not rinse within eight hours after surgery as this may cause and prolong bleeding. Rinse with the prescribed rinsing solution after 24 hours. Rinse three times per day (e.g. after breakfast and lunch, before going to bed). You may brush your teeth the following day; just remember to be very careful of the surgical site (s) and do not suck or spit vigorously. Do not use dental floss or other aids in the surgical area for ten days, or until instructed to do so by your oral surgeon. Do not spit vigorously for the first 24 hours. This can contribute to clot dislodgment.
Avoid vigorous exercise for the first three days after surgery
YOUR NEW TOOTH PLACEMENT NEEDS CONSCIENTIOUS DENTAL CARE.
CARE AND CHECK-UPS
After you have received your permanent restoration from your dentist, your new Implant/s with crown/s will be just as stable as your natural teeth. You can include them in your daily oral hygiene routine. Ideally, brush your teeth (Implant/s) after every main meal, particularly after breakfast and at night.
Use a soft toothbrush, which you should replace regularly. If you use an electronic toothbrush, you can continue to do so.
Clean all sides of each tooth (Implant/s) when you brush your teeth. Clean the front and back as well as the chewing surface. Cleaning the spaced between the teeth is also important. Use aids recommended to you by your dentist, such as dental floss and/ or interdental brushes. Give yourself sufficient time to clean them thoroughly.
Professional cleaning is important, too. Your dental team will suggest a suitable recall schedule for you based upon the complexity of your dental restoration and your overall oral health. They will also demonstrate appropriate cleaning techniques so that you can become familiar with the tools and/or procedures that are required for implant care. In general, you should care for your dental implant/s in the same manner as you would for your natural teeth.
Meticulous and consistent oral hygiene helps to ensure that your dental implant will provide years of comfort, satisfaction, and service.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CALL YOUR ORAL SURGEON
- If you have persistent complaints, swelling, or throbbing pain several days after surgery.
- If bleeding continues or recurs.
- If you still feel numb 12 hours after surgery.
- If you have any symptoms or questions not covered in your post-operative instructions.
We wish you a good and speedy recovery. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office, 452-4101 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For emergencies after hours you may call our “On Call Nurse” at # 907-978-5829.