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Post-Surgical Instructions for Dental Implants

Medications

All medications should be taken as directed on the bottle. If you were given ibuprofen for pain, take your first dose as soon as you get home, before the numbness wears off. Take the ibuprofen every 6-8 hours for the first 2-3 days.  If ibuprofen does not satisfactorily relieve your discomfort, then take two Tylenol up to every 6 hours. If the ibuprofen + Tylenol combination is inadequate, then take the narcotic as prescribed. Do not take any pain-medication on an empty stomach, as this can cause nausea. Drink a full glass of water when taking the medication, sit up for at least 20 minutes, and have something to eat. Do not drive while taking the narcotic pain medication. If you were prescribed an antibiotic, take the medication exactly as described on the bottle until the prescription is gone.

IF YOU ARE A FEMALE TAKING BIRTH CONTROL PILLS , ANTIBIOTICS CAN INTERACT AND SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS.

NOTE : IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, STOP TAKING ALL MEDICATIONS IMMEDIATELY AND CALL THE OFFICE OR A LOCAL EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT: rash, itching, breathing difficulties, wheezing, multiple episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, or swelling of the lips throat, eyes, hands, or feet.

Do not take any of the above medications if you are allergic, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.

Bleeding

A small amount of bleeding is expected and normally is not a cause for concern. A fresh gauze will be placed in the area of the surgery. Keep the jaws closed to provide pressure on the surgical sites. Remove this gauze in approximately one hour and replace it with another fresh, tightly-folded gauze. Again apply pressure and leave it in place for 60 minutes. This should stop most bleeding. When the gauze is removed, it is normal for the surgical site(s) to slightly ooze for up to 24 hours. It is not normal if the oozing causes large, thick clots to form in your mouth. In this case, replace the packs with moist fresh ones for one more hour. If the oozing continues at a brisk pace, call Dr. Engel or report to the local hospital Emergency Department for instructions.

Swelling

Some swelling is expected and may persist for several days. It may be minimized by the application of ice packs. Place the ice packs firmly against the face (wrap the pack with a washcloth to avoid a cold-burn) for 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off during the first 24 hours, except for eating and hygiene. When you lie down, do not lie flat. Elevate your head using a pillow. This allows gravity to work for you and helps reduce swelling. Peak swelling and/or discomfort usually occurs 2-3 days after surgery and then will start to subside. Most of any swelling should be resolved in 7-10 days.

Oral Hygiene

You should begin gentle warm salt water rinses the day after surgery. To do this, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to an 8 oz glass of warm (not hot) water. Gently rinse  for about 30 seconds and then let the water fall out of your mouth without spitting. The day after surgery brush and floss, but avoid the surgical sites. Remember to rinse after every meal and maintain excellent oral hygiene to promote healing. Do not brush the surgical site. If a mouthwash was prescribed, use it as directed. Avoid ALL tobacco products INDEFINITELY.

Eating  

Fluids should be taken as soon as possible after surgery.  Do not drink alcoholic beverages. You may have beverages such as: water, apple juice, broth, milkshakes, etc. Follow milk products with a clear liquid. High fluid intake is recommend for the first 48 hours to help prevent nausea and insure adequate hydration. Only eat soft foods (pasta, eggs, soups, instant breakfast drinks, puddings, etc.). Do not consume any hard, chewy, or crunchy foods; the consistency should be “one chew food.” Do not wear ANY dental prosthesis until you have checked with your general dentist or Dr. Engel .

Activity

If you had intravenous (IV) sedation, a responsible adult will accompany you. You are to go directly home and rest quietly the remainder of the day. The residual effects of the IV medication used during your procedure may alter your judgement and physical abilities. Do not attempt to drive or operate dangerous equipment (e.g. power tools, motor boats, etc.), for 24 hours or while taking the narcotic pain medication, and do not exercise strenuously (jogging, sports, weight lifting) for at least 3 days.

Sutures  

You probably had sutures placed. If you have sutures, they will be absorbed. If the sutures are bothersome, we can remove them 2 weeks after your surgery.

Intravenous Catheter

You may notice a bruise and some soreness at your previous IV site. The day after surgery you may apply moist heat to the area to relieve any residual discomfort. If the pain increases or does not improve within a few days, please call Dr. Engel.

Jaw Stiffness 

Stiffness and soreness around the jaw area can be anticipated the first few days. This may be kept to a minimum by opening the mouth as widely as possible several times each hour. After 24 hours, you may start to apply moist heat packs (applied to the stiff areas for 20 minutes 4-5 times a day) to speed recovery.

For Patients Taking Birth Control Pills

Antibiotics can sometimes render birth control pills less effective. It is advisable to use an alternative method of contraception for the remainder of that cycle’s package of pills when an antibiotic is taken.

Special Precautions

You may feel light-headed or dizzy due to the combined effects of the IV and pain medications. Be careful when you get up and ask for assistance when needed. Please feel free to contact us if any doubt arises as to your progress or recovery, especially if any of the following occur:

  •  Increasing or persistent pain after the first 3-4 days
  •  Continued increase in facial swelling after the first 72 hours
  •  Persistent bleeding, despite following the above instructions
  •  The presence of persistent nausea or vomiting

We will tell you at the time of discharge when your post-op appointment is scheduled. If there is a problem keeping this appointment, please call as soon as possible to reschedule. Do not hesitate to call us if you have ANY questions!