If you’ve lost a tooth, a dental implant is often a wonderful solution. Not only does it look and function much like a natural tooth, but also it can prevent bone loss and act as a long-term solution to your dental dilemma. However, you may be a little worried about what happens afterward. Will you be uncomfortable? Will you need to follow specific instructions regarding your diet and dental hygiene? What do you need to know? Scroll down to learn what to expect after dental implant surgery.
What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery
After the procedure, follow these instructions carefully to ensure that your mouth heals successfully:
Some bleeding is expected.
A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected, and it may continue for 24 to 72 hours. To protect the surgical site, leave the gauze pack, dental prosthetic, or permanent crown in place for several hours or until bedtime. Don’t disturb or agitate the area. Avoid sucking on the implant or poking it with your tongue. If it’s bleeding excessively (which is rare), wipe away any large blood clots and then bite down firmly on a clean, wet piece of gauze for 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat until the bleeding stops. If it won’t stop bleeding, call your dentist’s office.
The numbness will fade.
The amount of numbness that patients require varies. While your mouth is numb, take care not to bite your cheek, lip, or tongue. In addition, refrain from chewing or eating. The sensation should return within a few hours.
Prescribed medications can reduce your pain.
You may feel slight to moderate pain and pressure after the placement of a dental implant. To minimize the pain and control infection, take the medications prescribed by your dentist as directed. If the discomfort persists, do not increase the dosage or shorten the time between dosages. Instead, call your dentist’s office.
While you’re taking pain medications, you may feel drowsy. Do not ingest alcohol, operate machinery, or drive a car while taking medications until you know how they affect you.
Swelling may occur but can be minimized.
Swelling is usually most noticeable two days after surgery and typically lasts four to six days. In some cases, the swelling may extend to other parts of your face and neck. To minimize swelling and discomfort, apply an ice pack or cold compress over the affected area (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, repeated) for the first day. For the days afterward, use heat instead – such as a heating pad or hot water bottle. Some discoloration of the skin or bruising may occur as well.
You may have a fever.
Check your temperature for several days afterward throughout the day. Your temperature may rise over 100 degrees during the week following the procedure. If you have an above-normal temperature (above 98.6 degrees), take two Tylenol tablets every four hours. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding, fever, nausea, or vomiting, call your dentist’s office.
Stick to a soft diet.
On the first day, drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods (soup, smoothies, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs). The day after that, you can eat any foods that you can successfully chew and swallow. However, avoid very hot liquids and alcoholic beverages. Keep in mind that you may not be able to return to a regular diet for about a week.
We aren’t quite finished! If you’re wondering what to expect after dental implant surgery, here are a few more quick points:
- You may have sutures following the surgery, and they may feel a bit tight. This is normal.
- Do not rinse or use mouthwash for 1-2 days after the surgery. Avoid spitting or drinking from a straw as well.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water every 1-2 hours and after meals. Use 1/2 teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water.
- Rest is recommended. Avoid strenuous activity. Keep your head elevated the first night.
- Numbness may persist in your lower lip or tongue. This is normal and will fade in a few days or perhaps a few weeks.
- Nose bleeds or stuffy sinuses may occur. This is normal.
- Your lips may be sore. Use Vaseline to keep them lubricated.
- You may experience nausea or develop a rash. If you do, call your dentist’s office promptly.
- You may have a sore throat or sore teeth. This is normal and should fade. Use Chloraseptic lozenges or oral spray to reduce discomfort.
Are you missing a tooth? If you would like to replace it with a dental implant or bridge and you live in Springfield, Missouri, please contact Wilkinson Dental today. You can request an appointment online or give us a call at 417-882-8222. We would be happy to help!