Dental Implant Aftercare: What to Expect

Woman talk to dentist in dental clinic

If you’ve made the big decision to have dental implant surgery, congratulations are in order! Choosing to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant is an excellent, long term solution to tooth replacement and will keep you smiling for years to come.

But what happens next? And how can you expect to feel after your dental implant procedure? We’re here to help you know exactly what you can expect so you can be as prepared as possible in how to take care of your new implant.

What to Do Immediately After Implant Surgery

Immediately after implant surgery, the most important thing you can do is not disturb the wound. Your mouth and your body just went through a lot, so avoid any vigorous rinsing, spitting or touching of the area on the day of surgery.

You can expect:

Bleeding. Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for about 24 hours. Excessive bleeding where your mouth fills up rapidly with blood can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, give us a call and we can discuss what to do next on a case by case basis.

Pain. You can begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, take two Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin every 3-4 hours as needed to help manage pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed by your doctor.

Antibiotics. Take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.

Swelling. Some swelling is normal and expected to occur after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag wrapped in a thin towel on your cheek over the area of the surgery. Applying ice or a cold compress as much as possible for the first 48 hours will help to minimize swelling and promote healing.

Diet. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid any hot liquids or food. Soft food and liquids should be eaten on the day of surgery, and you can return to a normal diet as soon as your body is comfortable and ready.

Dental Implant Success Begins with Home Care

Good oral hygiene is essential to promote good healing. The night of surgery, use any prescribed oral rinse and follow your provider’s cleaning instructions. The day after surgery, prescribed rinses should typically be used twice daily, after breakfast and before bed. When rinsing, be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds, spitting the liquid out afterwards. Warm salt water rinses should be used at least 4-5 times a day, especially after meals, to help aid the mouth in healing properly and as quickly as possible.

Brushing your teeth and the healing abutment is not an issue, but be gentle initially with brushing around the surgical areas.

Letting Your Body Heal

Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery, and allow your body to rest and recover. If you try vigorous exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur, and you should discontinue exercising immediately until your mouth has had proper time to heal. Consider delaying exercise until you’re able to return to a normal diet so your body has the proper fuel and ability to power through.

Remember, rest is your friend when it comes to a recovering body, and pushing yourself will only delay healing.

What Happens Next on My Implant Journey?

You may need additional surgery to place the abutment, or the piece where the crown will eventually attach. This minor surgery is typically done with local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.

To place the abutment:

  • Your oral surgeon reopens your gum to expose the dental implant
  • The abutment is attached to the dental implant
  • The gum tissue is then closed around, but not over, the abutment

In some cases, the abutment is attached to the dental implant metal post, when the post is implanted, which means you won’t need this extra surgical step.

It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous about getting a dental implant, but the Cherrywood Dental team is here to make the process as easy and manageable as possible. If you have any questions before, during or after your dental implant procedure, we’re here to help and are just a phone call away!

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