Post Operative Instructions for Dental Implant Surgery

To insure your comfort and the success of treatment, we strongly suggest that the following instructions be carried out:

1. Work and Exercise: RETURN HOME IMMEDIATELY AND RELAX. The sedative medicine takes some time to completely wear off, possibly as long as 24 hours. It is normal to sleep a good deal during this period. Do not try to drive or operate any machinery for 12 hours, because your reaction time is slowed. Work can be resumed tomorrow, but you may choose to wait several days. DO NOT UNDERTAKE ANY STRENUOUS EXERCISE FOR SEVERAL DAYS.

2. Periodontal Dressing: A periodontal dressing (pack) may have been placed over the surgical site. If so, this dressing will harden to a firm plastic-like consistency and must not be disturbed until healing is nearly complete. It contains medication which helps prevent infection and which will make the healing period more comfortable. If by chance the dressing should come loose or be broken before your next appointment, do not be alarmed, but contact our office at your convenience.
Exaggerated movement of the jaws (talking, laughing, yawning, vigorous chewing, etc.) must be avoided during the first 24 hours after surgery, so that a strong blood clot is permitted to form, insuring better healing and allowing the dressing to stay in place before it hardens.
Occasional blood stains in the saliva may be expected. If some bleeding continues, rinse with ice water and then take a piece of gauze or a cold, wet tea bag and cover the area under pressure for 30 minutes. Approximately 10 days after your surgical appointment, the dressing and any sutures will be removed. Another dressing may be applied for a second period of time.

3. Diet: Soft and Cool foods for the first 24 hours after surgery. We encourage you to restrict your diet to soft, nourishing foods while the dressing is in place. This kind of diet will help to prevent breaking the dressing. For the same reason, it is advisable to chew only on the side opposite the dressing. Do not drink with a straw.
Bland foods lacking high seasoning are less irritating and are encouraged during the healing phase as well. Some suggested foods: dairy products, eggs, instant breakfasts, ice cream, jello, yogurt, pudding, milk shakes, blended or pureed foods and/or dietary supplements (Ensure, Nutriment, etc.).
For 24 hours after surgery, hot foods and drinks should be avoided, since heat can cause swelling around the surgical site and can also cause softening and displacement of the periodontal dressing. AN ICE BAG (or crushed ice in a zip-lock bag, covered with a thin towel) HELD ON THE LIP OR CHEEK OVER THE SURGICAL SITE FOR 10 MINUTES ON AND 5 MINUTES OFF WILL HELP REDUCE SWELLING during the initial 4-5 hours.
For persistent swelling after the first 24 hours, heat is encouraged (warm water rinses, hot water bottle, heating pad, etc.) since the warmth will increase blood circulation to the surgical site and promote healing.


4. Home Care: As already mentioned, plaque control procedures must not be neglected, even during this post-operative phase of your treatment. Beginning the day after surgery, all the teeth not covered by the periodontal dressing must be brushed and flossed as you normally do. We encourage you not to use toothpaste, since many are irritating to healing tissues. The periodontal dressing should also be cleaned daily, but not with a toothbrush, since the dressing can be accidentally bumped loose. The dressing should be cleansed with gauze squares or Q-tips. NO TOOTHPASTE, BAKING SODA, SALT WATER OR MOUTHWASHES UNTIL DIRECTED.

5. Medication: Pain medication may or may not be prescribed depending on the severity of your surgical procedure. If it is not prescribed, aspirin or acetaminophen tablets (2 tablets every 4 hours) will generally keep you comfortable. Do not take pain medication if it is not needed.
In some cases, an antibiotic may also be prescribed to eliminate any chance of infection. It is imperative that you follow the directions on the label when taking antibiotic medication. Particularly be certain that you take this medication as prescribed and until finished.
Prescription pain medications are quite strong and consequently, to avoid mild symptoms of nausea, the medication should be taken with food. You should also avoid operating any mechanical devices or vehicles while taking prescription pain medication.

6. General Information: Problems which arise during your post-operative period, such as continued bleeding, persistent pain, abnormal swelling, etc. should be discussed with us. We also suggest that you elevate your head by using two pillows during sleep for the first 36 to 48 hours after surgery, as this position will help reduce swelling. DO NOT USE DRINKING STRAWS OR SUCK HARD ON SMOKING MATERIAL DURING THE FIRST TWO POST-OPERATIVE DAYS. Such activity can cause bleeding. Due to its retarding effect on healing, it is advisable that you keep smoking down to a bare minimum. While this type of dental therapy is not enjoyable for anyone, following the instructions listed above is the best way we know to make the healing phase as pleasant as possible. Remember our goal, as well as yours, is to retain your natural teeth in health and comfort. This surgical procedure is one important way which will help us both achieve this goal.

If you have any questions, please call the office.