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Andrew Sullivan, DDS & Joel Pascuzzi, DMD, LLC
Specializing in Periodontics
Oral Medicine and Implant Surgery
Call: (201) 437-9098

After Dental Implant Surgery

Following dental implant surgery, patients must take detailed care of the area surrounding their new implant.  For the first month the dental implant is still integrating with the bone and tissues and is a critical period. The patient’s oral health care is important and critical during this initial period.  Above all, do not disturb the wound in the initial days that follow surgery.  Avoid aggressive rinsing and touching the implant area for 24 hours after surgery to avoid contaminating or irritating the surgical site.  After dental implant surgery, it’s important to follow these instructions:

  • Antibiotics – Patients should take all prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection at the surgical site.  Twenty-four hours after the surgery, patients should begin using the prescribed oral rinse twice daily alongside a warm saltwater rinse 4-5 times daily (preferably after every meal/snack).
  • Bleeding - Blood in the patients’ saliva is normal during the first 24 hours following surgery.  We suggest biting on gauze pads or a wet tea bag to help control and lessen blood flow.  Gently bite down on the gauze pad or a wet tea bag and try to maintain constant pressure, repeating as often as needed, or until bleeding lessens.
  • Dealing with pain – Shortly after your dental implant surgery the anesthetic will wear off.  You should begin taking pain medication that was prescribed to you or use over-the-counter pain medication (e.g., Tylenol®, Aleve®, ibuprofen, etc.) providing your medical history permits this. Patients on anticoagulants or anti-platlet medications should not take NSAIDs (Aleve, Advil, Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Aspirin, etc.). Tylenol may be a better choice.
  • Diet - We recommend an initial diet of soft foods, but patients can resume a normal diet as soon as they feel capable of doing so. Always stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Hygiene – In order for the dental implants to heal properly, the surgical site must be kept clean. Continue to brush your teeth as you normally would, but avoid any sutures. The antibiotic and saltwater rinses will disinfect the implant itself.
  • Swelling – After dental implant surgery some amount of swelling is to be expected. To help minimize swelling, try to keep your head elevated and lower your activity level, as much as possible. Use ice packs for the first 24 to 48 hours and apply every 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off for the first 3-4 hours after surgery. After 48 hours, if swelling persists, a moist warm water pack can be used and applied 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off for a few hours. Usually, if swelling occurs after surgery, it will increase from 1 - 3 days after the surgery and then, will decrease. If the swelling increases after 3 days, call the office for an earlier post-surgical appointment.
  • Wearing your prosthesis or night guard – Partial dentures, flippers, full dentures, retainers, or night guards should not be used for at least 10 days following surgery. This is extremely important because you don't want undue pressure on the implant surgical site  If there are any special circumstances, our practice will discuss those with you during your pre-operative consultation and make the approprriate accommodations. 
  • Smoking – Smoking after dental implant surgery has an increased risk of infection, which also increases the risk of dental implants failing to integrate. We strongly recommend that patients do not smoke for a minimum of 2 weeks after dental implant surgery.

What does recovery involve?

While each patient’s case is different, recovery after dental implant surgery happens in a series of phases. With your new dental implants, maintaining proper oral hygiene should be your primary focus. In order for the implant to properly fuse with the jawbone, it must remain clean. Also keep in mind that when properly cared for, a dental implant can serve its owner with longevity.

When maintaining proper hygiene, oral discomfort should gradually lessen. Swelling, bruising, and minor bleeding may occur, but should be minimal. If any pain does continue, feel free to continue using the pain medications, which was recommended or call our office for a follow-up visit.

Healing time differs depending on whether a patient receives immediate crown placement, or waits for the implant to fuse with the jawbone. Your recovery timeframe will depend on your individual case and treatment plan; follow-up appointments will be scheduled accordingly.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office.