Have you just received dental implants? Here are a few things you should know about your recovery process.
Immediately After Your Procedure
As your anesthesia wears off, there are a few things you’ll need to avoid. For starters, do not eat anything as it wears off, as this may cause you to bite your lips, tongue, or cheeks. If you receive general anesthesia for the procedure, you’ll want to avoid driving a vehicle and should have someone to take you home after the operation. You will likely experience some pain as the anesthesia wears off, so be sure to take your pain medication as instructed.
Medication and Pain Management
Whether you’re taking over-the-counter pain medication or are given a prescription, be certain to follow your instructions and dosages carefully. Over-the-counter medications are typically enough to manage dental implant pain, in which case you would take Tylenol or ibuprofen every 3-4 hours. If you’ve been given a prescription for a stronger pain reliever, this can be filled at any pharmacy and should be taken as prescribed. You may have also been given a prescription for antibiotics to ward off infection. You will want to take your first dosage after the anesthetic has worn off. Please be certain to take the antibiotics as instructed until they are finished.
There are several steps you should take to keep your teeth and the surgical site clean. For all areas of your mouth that the surgery has not impacted, maintain your normal dental hygiene routine. Then, lightly brush on only the biting surfaces of the teeth in the areas where there is dressing. You should also rinse lightly with lukewarm saltwater four to six times per day (especially after meals) for about 30 seconds at a time.
If instructed to wear an upper denture or clear stent, do not remove it for at least 24 hours, regardless if it fills with blood. Once the first 24 hours have passed, you may remove it as you please. Also, to care for your surgical site, be certain not to touch the area with your fingers or tongue, and do not pull the lip or cheek to look at the surgical site. You should also be certain not to use a drinking straw, as this could dislodge your blood clot.
You may need to make a few changes to your diet to take care of your surgical site. First, avoid any sticky or hard foods such as nuts, popcorn, or chips. You’ll also want to skip any spicy or highly acidic foods. Instead, it is recommended that you stick to soft foods like soup, pasta, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs for the first 7-14 days of your recovery. Finally, do not drink alcohol or smoke tobacco products during your recovery.
It is to be expected that you will experience some swelling and bruising around the surgical site. There are a few things you can do to do help. For starters, keep your head elevated above the heart. Apply a reusable ice pack or frozen vegetables wrapped in a soft towel to the area, and alternate 20 minutes on/20 minutes off for the first 48 hours after surgery. If you experience major swelling, contact your dentist at once.
You may experience dental sensitivity to heat and cold after your surgery. This typically goes away after several weeks. However, to help minimize this pain, be sure to keep the area as plaque-free as possible using the oral hygiene methods listed above. If the sensitivity should persist, be sure to discuss the issue with your dentist.
You may see a bit of blood in your saliva for about 48 hours after your surgery. Be sure to avoid rinsing out your mouth or eating hot foods after the surgery, as this could make it difficult for the clot to form. You should also avoid strenuous physical activity for 2-3 days after the surgery. If you find that the bleeding is not stopping, you can apply a bit of pressure with a moistened tea bag or moistened gauze for 20-30 minutes. If the bleeding still does not stop, be sure to notify your dentist.
If you experience any nausea or vomiting after your surgery, you can try to eat soda crackers and sip on flat cola (Pepsi or Coca-Cola) to relieve your stomach. If your nausea continues, discuss with your dentist if you should stop taking pain medication.
Do you have any questions about how to recover from your dental implant operation? Call TruBlu Dentistry today!