Dental Implant Surgery
Minor bleeding after implant surgery is to be expected. Placement of a gauze pad over the surgical site with mild biting pressure over the site for 30-45 minutes should effectively stop the bleeding. In special cases such as a patient with high blood pressure or someone who is taking blood thinners, the implant surgical site may bleed for up to 48 hours after surgery. Vigorous bleeding in which the mouth is filling up with blood is not normal after implant surgery, and the patient should contact OSPC immediately if this occurs.
Swelling of the gums in the area of the implant is normal after implant surgery, and often the swelling worsens after the first day and peaks about 72 hours after surgery. When multiple implants are placed, swelling and bruising of the face and neck can sometimes occur. If major swelling occurs that affects vision, the ability to swallow or open one’s mouth wide enough to eat and drink, the patient should contact OSPC immediately.
Pain after implant surgery tends to be mild to moderate and in almost all cases can be managed with over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve. Healthy adults are able to take 600mg of Motrin (three 200mg tablets) every 6-8 hours. Patients taking blood thinners or those unable to take Motrin/Ibuprofen, 650mg of Tylenol every 6-8 hours is an effective alternative. If the patient is experiencing pain that is not effectively controlled by these measures, he or she should contact OSPC to speak with a nurse or surgeon.
Food consumed on the day of surgery should be soft and cool; hot food and liquids may cause increased bleeding and swelling. After the first day, a gradual return to normal diet is acceptable; however, solid food should NOT be chewed directly over the top of the newly placed implant. Small movements of the implant from chewing may disrupt the healing process and cause the implant to fail. The typical implant requires 8-12 weeks of rest from chewing to completely integrate into the jaw bone and be ready for a crown.
The patient is encouraged to brush the newly placed implant on the day of surgery. Patients are sent home with an extra soft toothbrush to use over the top of the surgical site. Light pressure with the soft toothbrush is recommended for cleaning the implant surgical site starting on the day of placement through the final visit when the implant is ready for crown placement. Warm salt water rinses after meals is a welcome addition to hygiene the first week after surgery. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe a mouth rinse to be used twice a day after surgery for one week as well.
On the day of implant placement, vigorous exercise is NOT recommended. Light activity such as walking or indoor house chores is acceptable. After the first day, the patient should be cautious when returning to high impact exercise or outdoor chores as these may increase swelling, bleeding, and pain. If the patient has specific questions about activity after surgery, he or she is encouraged to contact OSPC to speak with a nurse or surgeon.
Sutures are often placed at the time of surgery to help with healing and to stop bleeding. Sometimes these sutures become dislodged early in the healing process. This is no cause for alarm. Simply remove the suture from the mouth and discard it.
Occasionally the healing cap that was placed over the implant during surgery may become loose during the days or weeks following surgery. If this occurs, there is no cause for alarm. Contact the office during business hours and arrange to be seen by the surgery to replace or tighten the healing cap.
Remember that the nurses and surgeons at OSPC are available to assist the patient at all times during the healing process. If the patient has any questions or concerns that were not addressed in these instructions, he or she is encouraged to contact OSPC to speak with a nurse or surgeon.