Using dental implants to replace missing teeth has become increasingly common over the past 20 years. Consequently, the surgical procedure for placing them is fairly routine and the outcome predictable. Even so, the road to complete healing can be even smoother for patients who understand the facts about dental implant recovery, Dr. Mike Meek and Dr. David J. Tasch of 38th Street Dental in Austin, TX, make every effort to ensure their patients are prepared for a successful dental implant recovery.
The First Day
By following a few important post-operative instructions, you can help ensure a safe, positive dental implant recovery.
- Plan on resting for the remainder of the day. You should prepare an area where you can lie down with your head elevated. Be sure to have fluids available to drink and soft snacks to eat. Avoid using a straw to drink your fluids, since it can dislodge the newly formed blood clot.
- As the anesthesia wears off, you may begin to feel some discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medication can help relieve this discomfort.
- Some swelling is normal. The sooner you can apply an ice pack to your face, the better. Continue to apply the ice for the next 24 hours, a few minutes on and a few minutes off.
- You can control bleeding from the surgical site by biting down on the gauze the doctor will provide you. Alternatively, you can bite on a tea bag to apply pressure to the site until the bleeding has stopped.
- Be careful when chewing food to not disrupt the surgical site. If you use a denture or partial denture, you should leave it out temporarily. Your doctor can help you decide when to start using it again.
The team at 38th Street Dental makes every effort to ensure their patients are prepared for a successful dental implant recovery.
Maintaining a Successful Recovery
You can return to work and to your normal routine whenever you feel up to it, perhaps in a day or two. You can increase your chances for a successful, comfortable long-term healing process if you follow a few basic guidelines:
- Walking and other mild forms of exercise are fine but avoid contact sports and vigorous exercise and work activities for the first week.
- Continue to be cautious when chewing food near the surgical site.
- Discontinue taking pain medication as soon as you comfortably can, but take the full regimen of any antibiotics your doctor may have prescribed.
- Continue to abstain from smoking and any other form of tobacco use during the entire healing period.
- Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments after your surgery. The doctor will want to monitor your healing.
Complete healing, which can take up to six months, should occur in a clean environment. Thus, oral hygiene is especially important throughout this period. Begin gently cleaning the surgical area as soon as you can, even if only by lightly wiping it with a damp gauze, and continue to keep your entire mouth clean and plaque-free. If you were prescribed a special antiseptic mouth rinse, use it as directed.
When to Call the Doctor
Recovery after implant surgery is typically complication-free, but if you experience persistent or profuse bleeding, unusually severe pain or swelling, or high fever, contact the doctor immediately. These could be indicative of serious problems that should be quickly evaluated. Likewise, if you see or feel anything abnormal in the surgical area, let your doctor know about it.
Contact Us with Your Questions
At 38th Street Dental, we recognize the importance of patient education. We will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about your dental implant recovery. To contact our team, call us at (512) 458-6222 or use our convenient online contact form.