Prior to surgery for dental implants, I give my patients a detailed preview of what to expect on the first and following days. Here is a quick overview.
Bleeding: Gauze packs will be placed over the surgical areas to absorb bleeding, which will persist after surgery and likely for the next 24 hours. Bite these packs gently, so they remain in place, but not too tightly. Change them as needed (when saturated with blood), and consider moistening new gauze with water.
Remember that oral bleeding is more saliva than blood. Oral bleeding is normal after dental implant surgery, but should not be severe. If severe, that may suggest that too much pressure is being exerted on the gauze packs between teeth and not enough on the surgical area(s). Try repositioning the gauze packs and sitting more upright. If heavy bleeding persists, call your oral surgeon’s office.
Swelling: After surgery, swelling is expected and will not peak until a couple of days following the procedure. Swelling can be reduced by applying ice or cold packs regularly on the face closest to the surgical area.
Oral Hygiene: Keep your mouth clean, while exercising extreme caution. Brush your teeth very carefully, especially around the surgical area, so it is not disturbed. Avoid any contact with this area, as well as any habits which may retard the healing process like smoking. Approximately, within 24 hours of the procedure, you may want to begin rinsing your mouth with salt water.
Food and Nausea: Eat foods which are easy to consume, especially liquid and pureed foods. Avoid hot foods and chewing. Especially avoid any foods which may get stuck in the surgical area. Make sure that you do eat to keep up your strength and support the healing process.
Nausea and even vomiting may occur due to anesthesia, pain, swallowed blood, and/or pain medications. This is normal, and drinking flat or cold ginger ale may help (but not through a straw).
Day 2, 3, and Beyond
Many healing practices for Day 1 should be followed on Day 2, 3, and beyond. Continue applying ice to swelling, which will likely increase on the days following surgery before gradually subsiding. Do not be alarmed by any discoloration or bruising, which is natural and reflects the surgery’s impact on your tissues. Continue a gradual return to normal practices, like eating and exercise, avoiding whenever possible unnecessary strain on your mouth and body, which may disrupt the healing process.
Also keep in mind that the normal healing process is most uncomfortable during the initial days following the dental implant procedure, then should steadily improve. At any time, patients with dental implants are welcome to contact my Bala Cynwyd office with questions. We want this procedure to help you look and feel your best.
New York Oral and Facial Surgery