How to look after yourself following implant surgery

If you have had oral surgery (dental implants or a bone graft), please follow these instructions to make yourself more comfortable, promote healing and help prevent any possible complications. You can also download a PDF file below.

Bleeding

You probably will leave the practice with a wet gauze pad covering the surgical site. Keep the gauze in place and apply pressure on it for 30 minutes. Under this gauze may be a putty-like surgical bandage, which may stay in place for 10-14 days. Wash hands and remove gauze after 30 minutes. A little bleeding or oozing is normal. If simple bleeding continues, use the provided extra gauze and apply pressure for another 20 minutes. Repeat if necessary, if bleeding is persistent, place a moistened tea bag to the area and apply pressure for 20 minutes. If bleeding continues please call your dentist.

Diet

A nutritionally balanced soft food diet with plenty of fluids is important during the first 24 hours. Eat soups and soft foods, which are easily chewed and swallowed. Have foods warmed slightly rather than hot. During the first 24 hours avoid using straws, rinsing vigorously, smoking, and alcohol. Any of these actions could disturb or dislodge the protective blood clot from the surgical site. Loss of clot (dry socket) may cause uncomfortable delayed healing, and require additional visits to our office for treatment. A meal supplement such as Ensure may be helpful following the procedure depending on the amount of soreness you experience when chewing. Foods that are a good source of protein are: eggs, cottage cheese, pasta, lukewarm soups and ground meats.

Rinsing

During the next five days (beginning 24 hours after surgery) Corsodyl or a lukewarm salt water rinse should be used three to four times a day. Dissolve one level teaspoonful of salt to an eight-ounce glass of warm water. Allow water to remain in your mouth for 60 seconds, but do not rinse vigorously before emptying salt-water rinse. A gentle rinsing action is suggested.

Ice

Following surgery ice bags may be used to aid in pain control and to help minimise swelling and bruising.
1: Place a folded towel over the surgical area.
2: Place the ice pack on the towel.
3: Hold firmly or place a panty hose over your head and tie the legs over your head to hold the pack in place and apply pressure.
The third day is usually the most uncomfortable due to swelling. Some bruising may occur, this is normal.

Nausea

If nausea occurs take one ounce of a carbonated drink every hour for five to six hours, along with two soda crackers, or drink mild tea or clear broth before resuming your regular diet.

Bone fragments

Small bone fragments often separate from the surgical site during healing. If you feel a fragment in the surgical area it will probably work its way out. If it is sharp or painful, call for an appointment. Generally these fragments are easily removed without discomfort.

Medications

Please take medications as directed unless a drug reaction or allergies develop. If a drug reaction or emergency develops call your dentist. If you have trouble with breathing or feel extremely ill go directly to the nearest hospital Accident & Emergency department.

Exercise

Should be avoided for the first 24 hours. Exercise can promote bleeding or discomfort. Start back slowly and develop a routine based on how you feel.

Implants

All implants must remain undisturbed in the bone during healing. Do not chew directly on implants during the initial healing phase. Avoid disturbing the implant with your tongue or fingers. If numbness persists beyond 12 hours, please call the practice. If you have had an upper implant placed or sinus grafts performed, avoid blowing your nose for 8 days. Do no sneeze with your mouth closed, but try to keep the mouth open as you control the sneeze.

Bone grafts

If you have had a sinus augmentation or other type of bone grafts you may have been prescribed an antihistamine to take before and several weeks following surgery. If you have any signs of elevated temperature or excessive swelling, please call the practice.

Next appointment

You should make a review appointment with your dentist within two weeks of your treatment.

Emergency

If you have any reaction to surgery or medication that you consider abnormal, call the practice or contact your dentist as soon as possible.

Call 020 8692 9963 for advice or an emergency appointment, 7 days a week.