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During the past decade, science has made great improvements in implant dentistry. The dental implants used today are stronger, more durable, and more successful than ever before. Our doctors have the greatest confidence in modern dental implants. However, despite the tremendous improvements in both dental implants and surgical techniques, the success of your implants will ultimately depend on your active participation and cooperation in treatment and post-operative care. We have developed a set of guidelines to ensure that you receive the best possible results. The first two weeks after implant surgery are the most important as far as healing is concerned. Typically, healing of the bone surrounding the implants will take two to six months.

Diet

A diet that is mild in temperature, nutritionally balanced, and soft should be consumed during the first one to two weeks following implant surgery in order to avoid food particles entering your wounds or irritating the area.  You may progress to a normal diet after one or two weeks depending on the type of procedure you have had.

Swelling

Swelling after implant surgery is normal and reaches its MAXIMUM IN 48 to 72 HOURS. Swelling may persist for 7-10 days following your implant surgery. You can minimize facial swelling by keeping your head elevated with two pillows when lying down. Applying cold compresses or a bag of frozen peas to your face (30 minutes on, 10 minutes off) for the 48 hours following implant surgery can also help minimize swelling. After 48 hours, warm compresses can be used to help reduce the swelling. These should be continued (30 minutes on, 10 minutes off) until the swelling has been reduced.

Steady Bleeding

Intermittent bleeding is considered normal but bleeding should never be significant or severe; if it is, it usually means that the gauze packs, rather than pressing on the surgical area, are being clenched between your teeth. When this happens, try repositioning your fresh gauze packs so that pressure is directly on the surgical area and your remaining teeth are kept slightly apart.

  • Remove gauze
  • Gently rinse your mouth to remove any excess blood or clots
  • Moisten the gauze slightly as this will help prevent the blood clot from adhering to the gauze and removing part of the clot when the gauze is removed
  • Reposition the gauze so that pressure is applied to the bleeding site
  • Bite on the gauze for one hour
  • Keep your head elevated
  • Apply an ice pack to the face in the area of the procedure

If bleeding persists and/or is bothersome, you may try applying pressure with a teabag instead.

  • Moisten a teabag and place it directly over the surgical site to apply pressure to the area. Keep the teabag in place for one hour. You can also elevate your head, minimize physical activity, and apply ice to your face to aid in clotting the blood and stopping the bleeding. If necessary, repeat. If bleeding still persists and is bothersome, contact Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dentures

Following your procedure, you will be given instructions for the use of your dentures.

Cleaning

If an implant protrudes or shows through the gums, the metal has to be kept clean. Use a cotton-tipped applicator (Q-tip) dipped in peroxide and water to clean the implant for the first three weeks and a soft-bristled toothbrush after every meal.

Smoking

Do NOT use tobacco or smoke at all during the two weeks following implant surgery and longer if possible.

Discomfort

Most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. The worst discomfort usually occurs once the anesthetics have worn off. Take the first dose of pain medicine before you start to feel the beginning of discomfort in order to manage it better. Try not to take the pain medicine on an empty stomach to avoid an upset stomach. Bland foods such as yogurt and cool soups will help settle your stomach if it does become upset. For mild discomfort, take ibuprofen (Advil) 600 to 800mg every six hours or Tylenol every four hours. For severe discomfort, use the medication prescribed to you by our doctors.

Nausea

To ease nausea, take one ounce of a carbonated drink such as cola or ginger ale every hour for five to six hours. Then drink clear broth or mild tea and eat soft foods like ice milk or yogurt before resuming your regular diet. If nausea persists, you may be given medication to help.

Discoloration of the Skin or Bruising

Sometimes implant surgery will produce bruising, but it may not appear for 24 to 48 hours. Applying heat to the involved area (30 minutes on, 10 minutes off) will help reduce bruising.

Infection

Although our doctors may prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection, a wound infection may occur one to three days after surgery. You may have an infection if you experience throbbing pain, a sudden increase in swelling, or a foul-tasting drainage from the wound. If you suspect infection, call our office as soon as possible.

Summary

Your recent investment in dental implants is a reflection of your commitment to improving your health, appearance, and jaw function. The team at Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is equally committed to helping you preserve your health, function, and appearance by assisting you in any way we can. If you have any questions about the instructions we have given you or you are concerned about the healing of your surgical site, please contact us and schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation by one of our doctors as soon as possible to ensure the best results for you and your health.