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Proper postop care for dental implants

Follow these simple tips to heal as quickly as possible following dental implant surgery.

Caring for the wound

Before leaving the office, gauze will be placed over the surgical site. Bite down on the gauze for 30 minutes with enough pressure to stop the bleeding. Repeat as-needed.

Leave the wound alone for the first day. Do not inspect or probe the wound area. You may brush your teeth carefully the night of your surgery and begin gentle saline rinses the following morning. Use one tablespoon of salt for each eight ounces of warm water and repeat the rinse two to three times per day.

Avoid strenuous activity for a few days

Relax for the rest of the day following your surgery. Lifting or straining can cause unwanted bleeding, swelling and pain. Physical exercise should be avoided for several days as a heightened heart rate can increase bleeding or swelling.

Reduce swelling with ice

Ice the surgical site several times per day for the first 24 hours. Do not skip this step, even if you feel great. Icing your jaw will help prevent swelling.

Follow instructions for pain medication

It’s helpful to take your first pain pill before the anesthesia wears off. Follow your surgeon’s recommended dosage and any other instructions given along with the medication. Some pain pills are best taken with a small portion of food to prevent nausea. Do not take more prescription pain medication than your surgeon has approved for a single dose. If prescribed antibiotics, complete the full course no matter how great you feel.

Get plenty of nutrition

Consume nourishing foods high in calories and nutrients. Do not skip meals. The healing process requires energy. Stay away from hard or crunchy foods or foods with small seeds that could be trapped in the surgical area.

Maintain oral hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean during the healing process is important. Return to normal brushing as soon as possible but be careful to not brush too vigorously. Do be sure to carefully clean the teeth to either side of the surgical site.