Dental implant placement is a surgical procedure to install a titanium tooth root replacement. After healing, the dental implant will serve to support a prosthetic tooth, bridge, or denture.
At the implant placement appointment, your dentist will apply local anesthesia (similar to Novocaine) to ensure that the procedure is as comfortable as possible. For routine dental implant placement procedures, local anesthesia is completely adequate to maintain comfort. For complex cases that involve sinus grafting or bone augmentation procedures, your dentist may recommend referral to an oral surgeon or periodontist who offers sedation. Here is a guideline of what to expect and how to care for the surgical site after surgery.
Post op comfort, pain management, and medication
Once the dental implant placement procedure is complete, the local anesthesia (or numbing) will gradually wear off. This usually takes 1-4 hours. If the area still feels numb after 24 hours, inform your dentist. Many patients experience zero or mild discomfort after implant placement. In some cases, there is moderate or even significant discomfort. Take pain relief medication as recommended by your physician or your dentist. In most cases, an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen (400-600 mg) or naproxen (200 mg) is the best. It is a good idea to take the pain relief medication before your anesthesia fully wears off, to optimize comfort. If there is discomfort, it may get worse for 3-4 days before getting better. If your discomfort is extreme or if it continues after 5 days, inform your dentist. If you are prescribed antibiotics, make sure to follow instructions and take them entirely until they are gone.
Significant bleeding after dental implant placement is rare, however, it does occasionally occur. Unless your dentist instructs otherwise, bite on a folded piece of dampened gauze to apply pressure to the area. Keep pressure there for 1-2 hours. If bleeding is still significant after 1-2 hours, bite on a tea bag for 30 minutes. Be careful not to pull on the cheek or do any vigorous rinsing or spitting, as this can dislodge the healing clot and cause bleeding to start over. If your bleeding does not slow down, or increases, please call us.
Do not skip meals and strive to maintain a normal calorie intake and nutrition. It is important not to put pressure on the new implant site while it is healing. For the first week following implant placement, eat softer foods such as eggs, pasta, fish, cooked vegetables, and smoothies. You should avoid very hot fluids (hot coffee) or abrasive foods (chips or nuts). After 1 week you may transition to normal foods, as long as you do not chew on the area where the new implant is. Even after the gum heals (1-3 weeks), your implant is still healing against the jaw bone. This process takes up to four months. Be careful not to chew directly on the implant during this period. Avoid smoking while your wound is healing as it can slow down the process.
One of the most important things to do, following dental implant surgery, is to keep the mouth clean. This will help to prevent infection and allow the wound to heal. The day following your implant placement, do a warm salt-water rinse (one half teaspoon salt per 4 ounces water) morning, evening, and after meals. Starting the evening of your surgery, you can brush your teeth, just make sure to avoid the area around your new implant. After about five days, begin carefully cleaning the implant area. If there is a metal healing cap, you may use a q-tip to wipe away any biofilm and keep it clean.
Take it easy and rest in the first few days following your surgery. Exercise increases blood flow and can promote bleeding.
Following these guidelines can help ensure the quickest and easiest recovery. As always, give us a call if you have any questions or concerns!