Dental Implant Care – Postoperative Instructions

After getting your tooth implant there will be several important steps to ensure proper dental implant care and recover safely. Here are some guidelines for dental implant postoperative care, although you should consult specific instructions if you have received:

  • Orthdontics
  • Home Care After Dental Treatment
  • Functional Appliance
  • Socket Graft
  • Endodontics (Root Canal)
  • Scaling/Root Planing
  • Wound Care: The first step in dental implant care in order to ensure proper recovery from dental implant surgery is post-op wound care. When patients leave our office after getting dental implants, they will likely have surgical gauze over the dental implant site. Bite down to press this firmly against the wound. Change dressing as necessary. If bleeding persists, you can substitute a tea bag for the gauze. If bleeding persists into the second day or worsens, contact our office. (Note: a small amount of oozing blood, which is normal for the first two days, can make your saliva appear red, and is not a cause of concern.)

    Leave the wound alone, and don’t constantly try to inspect it, especially at the risk of disturbing the blood clot.

    Swelling: Swelling is normal after any surgical procedure. It should increase for the first two or three days. To combat swelling, apply ice to the side of your face near the implant site or sites for about 20-30 minutes, then rest for a like amount of time. Keep this up as close to continuously as possible for the first 24 hours. This can also help control discomfort.

    Discomfort: You will be numb for hours after you arrive home. To control discomfort, you should start taking prescribed pain medication or over-the-counter pain medication at the first tingle of returning sensation. Remember: taking medication with food can reduce your risk of nausea. Discomfort will be worst in the first five days after the procedure, after which it will gradually diminish. If pain worsens, doesn’t respond to medication, or requires pain medication greater than the recommended dosages, please contact us.

    Diet: Soft foods are recommended for the first day after your procedure. Do not consume very hot foods or liquids. Do not use a straw for at least 72 hours after your procedure. Transition gradually to solid food, chewing in areas where you didn’t receive dental implants. Avoid seeds, nuts, and other foods that can break down into small, hard particles that can get into your wounds.

    Eat a good mix of healthy, nutritious food after your procedure. Remember to eat even if you don’t feel hungry–you need food to fuel your healing.

    Avoid alcohol for 72 hours after your procedure.

    Smoking: Smoking can significantly increase the risks failure and is an obstacle to proper dental implant care and recovery. We recommend that you quit smoking altogether. At a minimum, do not smoke for a full 8 weeks after your implants have been placed. Avoid nicotine replacements and other tobacco products as well.

    Activity: Any activity that stimulates your heart will encourage bleeding. Do not exercise on the day of your procedure. On the next day, if you feel up to it, you can return to light work. Avoid strenuous recreation or work for at least 72 hours after your procedure.

    Medications: Take medications as described by your dentist. In particular, make sure you are taking all your antibiotics as described, and continue taking them until they are all gone.

    Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth before bed on the day of your procedure.
    Don’t brush around the areas where the implants were placed. Floss normally except where the implant was placed. If you have a visible restoration, we will give you details about how to care for it.

    Don’t rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours after your procedure. After that point, you can begin rinsing with a saltwater solution (½ tsp salt per 8 ounce glass of water). Start rinsing gently–you don’t want to disturb the surgical site.  After three days, you can begin gently brushing the surgical site. If you were given a prescription mouth rinse, follow the directions.

    Removable Appliances: If you have a cosmetic appliance to wear, we will let you know when and how to wear it. Always follow these instructions, and remember to clean your appliance as instructed.

    Watch for Complications: Complications after implant placement are rare, but they can happen. Watch for any of the following:

    • Increasing pain around the wound
    • Bleeding that increases or doesn’t stop
    • Vomiting or nausea not connected to pain medication
    • Fever
    • Localized warmth at the surgical site
    • Pus or foul odor or taste coming from surgical site

    If you experience any of these, or if your condition does not improve a week after your procedure, please contact us to learn more.

    Do you have additional questions about the dental implant care and postoperative recovery procedures? Please call 201-343-4044 or email for an appointment with a River Edge implant dentist at the River Edge Dental Center for General & Cosmetic Dentistry.