Post-Operative Instructions for Implants


Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all of these instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do.  However, when in doubt, follow these guidelines or call our office any time for clarification.


Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place. If active bleeding persists after one hour, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30-60 minutes. Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. Do not disturb the surgical area today. If bleeding persists or becomes heavy you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in hot water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in a moist gauze) for 20 or 30 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office. DO NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects or your fingers. You may brush your teeth gently. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, since it is very detrimental to healing.


Often there is some swelling associated with oral surgery. You can minimize this by using an ice pack applied firmly to face or cheek next to the surgical area. This should be applied twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off during the first 12 to 24 hours after surgery. Swelling can be at a maximum 48-72 hours after treatment. Heat can be used after this initial 2-3 day period.


Most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication. If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you will be able to better manage any discomfort. Effects of pain medicines vary widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief, you may supplement each pill with an analgesic such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Some people may even require two of the pain pills at one time during early stages (but that may add to the risk of upset stomach). Remember that the most severe discomfort is usually within the first six hours after the local anesthetic wears off.


Nausea is not an uncommon event after surgery, and it is sometimes caused by strong pain medicines. Nausea can be reduced by eating soft food along with taking the pain pills. If you feel the stronger narcotic pain pills are causing the nausea, switch to Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Generally nausea is gone by the next morning after surgery.


Soft foods are recommended for the first day. After that you may resume a more normal diet.


Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. After the first day, use one-quarter teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily for the next five days.


Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean your teeth. As healing takes place, you should be able to brush over the implant after a few days.


After 48-72 hours, apply warm compresses to the areas of swelling (hot water bottle, moist hot towels, heating pad) for 20 minutes to help soothe those tender areas. This will also help decrease swelling and stiffness.


You will notice a small round metal cover cap where the implant is placed. Please keep this clean by brushing. Healing time will be anywhere from three to six months before the implant can be restored by your dentist.


The gum tissue, in some situations, will be covered over the implant. In those cases, a small second procedure will be required to uncover the implant. Healing time will be anywhere from three to four months, before the uncovering procedure will be needed. After two to three weeks, the implant will be ready to be restored by your dentist.

Thank you for allowing our office to serve you.  It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call our office.  Try to call during office hours; however, a 24 hour answering service is available after-hours contact with a doctor.  Calling during office hours will afford a faster response.