Placement of dental implants usually does not create a great deal of pain. General postoperative instructions apply, with the exception of rinsing.
Remember, DO NOT rinse with warm salt water. The doctor has given you a prescription rinse containing chlorhexidine, an antibacterial medicine to assist in the healing and keep the site healthy.
Make sure that you get rid of any toothpaste residue prior to rinsing and then DO NOT eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing. This will maximize the potency of the medication.
Generally speaking, following implant surgery the Gore-Tex sutures need to be removed. They are white strings which you may see in your mouth. If they become loose and annoying, call the office to have them removed at your earliest convenience.
PAIN MEDICATION/PRESCRIPTIONS: Some degree of discomfort and pain arises as numbness subsides. At the first sign of pain or discomfort, take the prescribed medications. As an alternative you may take 2-4 Advil. If you cannot take aspirin products, then take two Tylenol. If the pain you are having is not controlled by the Advil or “Advil-like” prescription, you may take the prescribed severe pain medicine [typically Vicodin ES], but only after eating some food. Any pain medication can cause nausea and vomiting. It is very important that you have some food in your stomach before you take them.
DO NOT DISTURB THE AREA OF SURGERY: Allowing the tissues to rest undisturbed assists the healing process. Avoid vigorous chewing, excessive spitting, or aggressive rinsing. If you routinely use a Water Pik, avoid doing so during the healing phase. Initial healing may be delayed, active bleeding restarted, or infection introduced.
EXPECT MINOR BLEEDING OR OOZING: If bleeding persists, continue pressure on a fresh sponge for an additional 30 minutes to an hour. Biting on a moist teabag wrapped in gauze may help control persistent oozing from the surgical site. Tea contains tannic acid, which helps promote blood clotting.
Firm pressure for 15-30 minutes usually controls the problem. If you check too frequently, (every few minutes), the blood clot will not form properly and bleeding will continue. Should active bleeding persist, please call the office or page the doctor.
LIMIT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Over exertion may lead to postoperative bleeding and discomfort. When you lie down, keep your head elevated on a pillow. You may wish to place a towel on your pillowcase to avoid staining from any blood-tainted saliva.
PAIN FOLLOWING ORAL SURGERY: It will be most severe within the first 6-8 hours after the operation. Please do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription medication. Do not wait for the pain to become unbearable before using some form of pain medication, as then it will be more difficult to control. Moderate to severe pain usually does not last longer than 48 hours. Mild discomfort usually diminishes after the 3rd day. Please contact us if you experience prolonged severe pain so that we can help make you more comfortable.
SWELLING RELATED TO THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE: This may occur following certain types of procedures. An ice pack should be placed on the side of your face for 20 minutes then taken off for 10 minutes and repeated. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil, also help decrease swelling.
SWELLING, SORENESS, OR STIFFNESS IN THE JAW MUSCLES: This can be relieved by applying a warm moist towel to the affected side of the face.
FLUID INTAKE IS IMPORTANT: Clear beverages, ginger ale, Seven-up or Sprite, water, teas, soda, broth, or juices are all suitable. Avoid hot liquids until the numbness has worn off, and the bleeding has stopped. Drink plenty of fluids.
AVOID USING A STRAW FOR SEVERAL DAYS: It may dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.
FOOD SELECTION: Soft, cool foods are most easily tolerated. A nutritious diet is most important to your comfort and temperament. Remember that eating can prevent nausea sometimes associated with certain medications. Supplements such as Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast and/or yogurt supply excellent added nutrition. Sometimes a soft diet may be necessary for the first few days following surgery. Most patients are able to resume regular food intake within a short time.
*DO NOT EAT ANY POPCORN, POPPY SEEDS, SESAME SEEDS OR SEEDED FRUITS. THEY CAN GET STUCK AND CAUSE INFECTION!*
SPECIAL MEDICATIONS: Take any special medications we have prescribed on the special dosing schedule. Yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus should be taken while on antibiotics to prevent diarrhea. It is important to take the antibiotics to completion. If you are given antibiotics and take birth control pills, you should be aware that the birth control may become ineffective, therefore, take appropriate precautions.
Take any regularly scheduled medication (for diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) on your regular schedule unless advised to do otherwise.
AVOID SMOKING COMPLETELY: It tends to delay healing and interfere with regeneration.
The Day Following Surgery and Thereafter
On the day following the surgery, rinse your mouth carefully with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a large glass of warm water. Repeat three times a day until remaining soreness subsides. Please do not use a syringe or Water Pik during the healing phase.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT STITCHES: They are usually dissolvable.
BRUISING: Bruise marks may appear on the skin of the face during the first few days after surgery. Should any undue reaction or complications arise, notify the office immediately.
Contacting the office: If you need to contact us after office hours, please call the doctor’s cell phone. If he does not answer immediately, remember to always leave a voice message with your name, number, and where you can be reached.
From Dr. Avila: I make every attempt to answer my emergency pager as promptly as possible. Occasionally, your messages do not reach my cell phone. If you are experiencing an emergency, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. You may also try to reach your dentist.