Postoperative Recommendations and Instructions for Patients

General Post-Operative Instructions

Resting – After leaving the office, rest and avoid strenuous activities for the remainder of the day and the next day. Keep your head elevated (extra pillow) the first two nights after the operation.

Discomfort – It is not unusual to have a certain amount of discomfort for a day or two following your surgery. In many instances, 400-600 mg Ibuprofen with food 3-4 times a day during 2 days will be sufficient to relieve discomfort. It is best not to take aspirin, as it can interfere with blood clotting. Most patients report a “tightening” sensation in the jaw bone for a day or so following the surgery. This will dissipate over time. If necessary, you will be given a prescription for a more potent medication to allow for a mild post surgical recovery period. Take as directed on the label. Take only as prescribed. If significant discomfort persists, please call the office.

Swelling – Minor swelling may follow your surgical procedure, bruising may also occur. To prevent or minimize swelling, it is advisable to place an ice-pack over the area for the next two hours after the appointment. Crushed ice in a zip-lock plastic bag works well. Place on the cheek near the surgical site for 20 minutes, then off for 15 minutes, then on again, and so on.

Bleeding – A small amount of bleeding is all that is necessary to discolor the saliva and give the appearance of excessive bleeding. Do not be alarmed as this is not unusual. Rinsing the mouth interferes with clotting of the blood, so do not rinse vigorously the first evening. If excessive or continuous bleeding does occur:

  1.  Discontinue all rinsing
  2. Sit up in an erect position
  3. Very gently bite on gauze over the implant site

Appearance – It is possible and perfectly normal during healing for the implant(s) to sometimes show itself through the gum. This is nothing to worry about. (If a Teflon membrane was placed over the implant during the surgery, then you may see white material exposed under the gum tissue.) Your doctor will periodically review the healing of the site.

Alcohol and Smoking – Prohibited for the first two weeks! Alcoholic beverages can close down blood vessels and destroy blood clots. Smoking is an irritant to healing tissues and will also close down blood vessels. Both will slow down the healing process.

Diet – Do not eat hard or firm foods on the side receiving surgical care. If both sides received surgical care, then you should eat a soft diet. Avoid very hot foods and very hot liquids for the first day following surgery. Although a liquid or semisolid (mash) diet may be used at first, keep in mind that adequate nutrition and fluid intake is essential for proper healing. Avoid pop-corn, poppy seeds, or other seeds that can get stuck and cause infection. Avoid using a straw for several days: it may dislodge the blood clot and delay healing. During the second week, the following soft foods require little chewing while providing necessary nutrients: soup, eggs, cereal, baby foods, ground meats, cheese, custard, ice-cream, milk.

Fever – A slight fever is usual for a day or so following any surgical procedure. A fever may be caused by inadequate fluid intake as well. An adult should consume 8-12 glasses of fluid each day. If an antibiotic was prescribed, be sure to take it as directed. If a fever seems prolonged or excessive, please call our office.

Antibiotic – In most cases you will be given a prescription for an antibiotic. Although an infection is an extremely unlikely, the antibiotic is an additional measure of security that will help insure a successful implant placement.

Rinsing and Oral Hygiene – You may have been given a prescription for an antimicrobial mouthwash, rinse twice a day or as directed. Rinsing the mouth interferes with clotting of the blood, so do not rinse vigorously the first evening, do not brush your teeth the first day of surgery either.

Dentures – Dentures may not be worn over the surgical area during the first ten days. After that period, old dentures may not be worn until refitting adjustments (relining) have been made by your dentist. Insertion of dentures too early may jeopardize successful healing.