Most patients have a lot of questions about dental implants as they consider their options for tooth replacement. Once they’ve finally made the decision to move forward with implant surgery, there’s usually one question on their minds: what can they expect after dental implant surgery? Here’s what you need to know.
Immediately After Dental Implant Surgery
You will probably feel groggy and "out of it" after your dental implant placement is completed, depending on the amount and type of sedation used. Light bleeding at the incision site and swelling are common immediately after dental implant surgery.
A few hours after your dental implants are placed, the local anesthesia will start to wear off. When it does, you'll begin to experience some tenderness and discomfort. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help you manage any pain. We'll give you instructions on how to take these and any other medications you've been prescribed.
24 Hours After Dental Implant Surgery
Brushing your teeth near the surgical site is not recommended, but you can continue to brush and floss if you avoid the area—just don't rinse or spit for the first 24 hours. You should not use straws or smoke either during this period. (It’s best if you quit smoking altogether prior to implant surgery.)
After dental implant surgery, a soft food diet is recommended, and in the first day after surgery, a liquid diet is ideal—think smoothies, milk, pureed soups, and juice. It’s also common to experience sensitivity to heat and cold the first day or so after your procedure. Spicy foods, carbonation, and alcoholic drinks should be avoided too.
The day after surgery, you should limit your activities and plan on spending most of your time resting, allowing your body to spend its energy on healing. After that, depending on the number of implants placed and whether additional procedures were performed at the same time, you will be able to return to work. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to resume your daily activities, err on the side of caution and take it easy.
First Few Days After Dental Implant Surgery
At about the 2–3 day mark, the swelling around your ears, eyes, and the surgical site normally peaks. A cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel is ideal for relieving swelling. To prevent damage to the skin, apply compresses for 20 minutes and then remove them. After 36 hours, moist heat can be used to reduce swelling even further.
After the first 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water. Stir one-half teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of water until the salt is fully dissolved. This will help relieve pain and encourage healing.
Our staff will contact you to see how you’re feeling and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. You'll also have a follow-up appointment at our office to check on your recovery.
How to Know if Something Is Wrong
Please contact our office if you experience heavy bleeding or severe pain 48–72 hours after your surgery. If your pain and swelling are getting worse as time passes, rather than better, you may have an infection. Fever, discharge from the surgical site, and a bad taste in the mouth are other symptoms of infection that require immediate attention