Post-Operative Instructions


Dental Implants


A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following implant surgery. Slight oozing or blood-tinged saliva is not uncommon for the first 12–24 hours. You may be asked to keep a gauze pad over the surgical site with firm biting pressure for 1 hour. After this time, remove and discard the gauze pad. It does not need to be replaced unless bleeding continues or recurs. If bleeding does not subside, please call our office for further instructions.


Swelling is the body’s normal and healthy reaction to surgery; it is expected after most surgical procedures and is usually proportional to the extent of surgery performed. It is not uncommon for swelling to occur around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face. Most swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 48–72 hours postoperatively. However, swelling and discomfort may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Apply ice packs to the side of the face over the area where the implant surgery was performed for the first 24–48 hours. Ice packs should be left on for 20 minutes, then removed for 20 minutes. After 48 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. Instead, the application of heat may be helpful in reducing the amount of swelling more quickly.


Take the prescribed pain medication before you begin to feel discomfort. This usually coincides with the start of the local anesthetic wearing off. Taking pain medication on an empty stomach may cause nausea, so it is recommended to take the pills with food or drink. Pain medication may make you groggy and slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery while medicated. It is also best to avoid alcoholic beverages. Aspirin or other over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®), may be used when appropriate.


Antibiotics may be prescribed for certain patients after implant surgery to help prevent infection. If you have been placed on an antibiotic, take the tablets or liquid as directed until gone. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or any other unfavorable reaction, and notify our office immediately.


It is best to wait until after the local anesthetic has completely worn off before beginning to eat. You may eat anything soft and cool the first day by chewing away from the surgical site. Do not drink hot fluids or eat hot food the first day. Avoid hard, crunchy foods that may harm the area. It’s best to progress to more solid foods and return to your normal diet as soon as possible.


Good oral hygiene is essential for good healing. Our doctors may prescribe an antibiotic mouth rinse (Peridex™) to begin the night of surgery and continue as directed on the label. Begin warm saltwater rinses (a ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) the day after surgery, and rinse 4–5 times a day, especially after meals. Continue to brush your teeth as best as you can, remembering to be careful around the surgical site. There may be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gum tissue in the area of the implant surgery. Do not use an electric toothbrush to brush the healing abutment.


You will most likely have sutures in the area of the implant surgery. Our doctors will tell you if your sutures are dissolvable or if you will need to have them removed. Even if your sutures are dissolvable, a follow-up appointment 7–10 days after the procedure may still be scheduled to check your healing.


You may be able to wear your removable dental prosthesis (partial denture, full denture, or flipper) immediately after your implant surgery provided that our surgeons adjusted it at the time of your procedure or your dentist adjusted it afterward. Please check with our doctors about your personal needs concerning wearing your removable prosthesis.

Please notify our office if you have any questions or concerns.