The surrounding area around a new dental implant will require a lot of care and attention by the patient, for up to a month or even longer. The implant will take this long to integrate with the bone and tissue around it, and so the last thing you should do is neglect it. The most vital thing to avoid is disturbing the wound itself, particularly in the first three days after the surgery, and so rinsing, spitting, and touching the mouth should be avoided as best as possible, in case you irritate or contaminate the wound.
Other important instructions to follow include:
- Antibiotics: antibiotics will be given to you to prevent infection, and should be used twice a day after the first twenty four hours have passed. You should also rinse with warm salt water up to five times a day, after every time that you eat
- Bleeding: it is common to notice blood in your saliva in the first 24 hours after the surgery, and you can bite on gauze pads to lessen this. Maintain pressure until the bleeding stops, and do as often as required
- Pain: once the anaesthetic has worn off, there will be some pain, and you can take over the counter pain relief medication in order to deal with this
- Diet: although you should be able to resume a normal diet within a few days, soft foods are the best choice straight after your surgery. When you feel able to chew, chew. The vital thing is to stay hydrated, with plenty of water which will promote healing
- Hygiene: the surgical site must be kept clean in order for the dental implant to heal, so you will need to avoid any stitches or sutures when you brush your teeth – and avoid the implant itself. The salt water and antibiotics are cleaning it for you
- Swelling: this is expected and totally normal, but to lessen it you should keep your head as elevated as possible. Not doing too much activity will also help, as can ice packs. After time, moist heat is useful to lessen swelling
- Prosthetics and night guards: you will not be able to use any sort of prosthetic or night guard for up to ten days after the surgery, including flippers, retainers, complete dentures, and partials. If you feel strongly that you need to, you should discuss this with your dentist before you have the surgery
- Smoking: this will immediately increase the chance of infection, and will make it difficult for the implant to heal and integrate with the rest of your bone. There should be no smoking for a minimum of two weeks after surgery
What Is Involved In The Recovery?
No two surgeries are exactly alike, but most surgeries will follow a similar healing pattern. The most important thing to focus on is your oral hygiene; keeping the implant clean will help it to integrate successfully into your jaw. A dental implant can last the rest of your life if you look after it properly. Your discomfort will disappear over time if your oral hygiene is sufficient. Although minor bleeding, bruising, and swelling is expected, you can use pain medication – in fact, it is recommended.
The overall healing time will depend on if a crown was also placed immediately after the dental implant surgery, and individuals will have their own healing times. Appointments to follow up will be necessary so your dentist can check up on your healing.
If you need assistance after dental implant surgery, call us at (619) 640-5100.