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Being as prepared for dental implant surgery as possible is vital to your recovery. You will likely have a chance to address any questions or concerns before leaving your appointment; however, here is some additional information on the do’s and don’ts of dental implant recovery to promote healing and implant success.
DO: Have Someone Drive You Home
If your dental implant surgery requires you to be put to sleep during the procedure, it will take some time for your alertness and coordination to return to its normal state. You may also experience minor blurring of vision following anesthesia. For these reasons, we always recommend that you do not drive or operate machinery for the first 24 hours after surgery. Have someone there to drive you home and to help get you settled for a speedy recovery.
DO: Help To Promote Blood Clots
A noticeable amount of blood from the surgical site is standard after having a dental implant placed. You may experience minor bleeding for up to 48-72 hours following surgery. During this period, continue to bite down firmly on the gauze sponges, your doctor placed over the surgical site. Applying slight pressure by biting down will help to stop any persistent bleeding. To promote blood clots and reduce bleeding, be sure to avoid rinsing, which can aggravate the sensitive tissue and stimulate bleeding.
If you have dental implants placed in the upper jaw, bleeding from the nose is a common side effect. Do not blow your nose and encourage blood clots by applying light pressure.
DON’T: Ignore Persistent Active Bleeding
Depending on the patient, bleeding can be more substantial than you may expect after specific procedures. If the bleeding you experience seems heavy, follow these steps:
Gently wipe away any large clots from your mouth
Take two gauze pads folded into fourths and place it over the bleeding site
You can also take moistened regular (non-herbal or decaf) tea bags wrapped in gauze and place them directly over the bleeding site
Bite down firmly for one hour without changing out the pad
Repeat the process several times if bleeding continues
In most cases, this will significantly reduce the amount of bleeding. If active bleeding continues despite these efforts, call your doctor to coordinate an emergency follow-up appointment.
DO: Eat Soft Foods For 24 Hours
You may remove the gauze pads that have been placed in your mouth by your dentist about an hour after surgery and eat if necessary. Be sure only to consume foods that are soft for the first 24 hours after surgery. Avoid any hot foods and beverages for several hours after surgery.
DON’T: Smoke After Surgery
Smoking of any kind after oral surgery interferes with the normal healing process, and it can increase your chances of developing an infection. Failure of the dental implant or bone grafting procedure is also common, and smokers have a higher risk of implant failure than non-smokers.
DO: Minimize Swelling
Swelling most often occurs as part of the natural healing process, especially after bone grafting procedures. Facial swelling typically increases for approximately 3-4 days after oral surgery. Soon after, the swelling should begin to subside. If you had implants placed on both sides of your mouth, it is not uncommon for one side to be more swollen or uncomfortable than the other.
Help to minimize the amount of swelling, apply a cold pack to the cheek area for a maximum of ten minutes at a time with twenty minutes break between sessions. After 24 hours, gentle heat can be more beneficial in combating swelling and bruising.
DON’T: Forget To Take Prescribed Antibiotics
Dental implant surgery requires antibiotics to be taken after your procedure. Antibiotics are used to prevent infection on or around the dental implant or bone graft. It is vital that you follow the directions on the bottle to ensure proper dosage, and to continue taking the medication until it is finished. If you should develop a reaction to the antibiotics, such a skin rash, stop taking the medication immediately and consult with your doctor.
DO: Schedule a Follow-Up Appointment
Your doctor will typically want to see you three weeks following your implant surgery. Following this appointment, the healing torque of the implant will need to be tested, or for the second stage of the procedure to uncover the implant and place the healing abutment if your implant was placed in a two-stage process.
If you’re ready to change your smile with dental implants permanently, call Dr. Aubrey Baudean DDS today to schedule an appointment. Our staff can also provide you with an in-depth list of the do’s and don’ts for after your dental implant surgery during your consultation appointment.