After Placement of Dental Implants


Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag, or towel filled with ice on the face in the area of surgery. Apply the ice intermittently (one-half hour on and one-half hour off) while awake for the first 48 hours. 


Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Bleeding can be controlled by biting on a tightly folded gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding site for 15-30 minutes. Remove gauze and repeat if necessary until the bleeding stops. If bleeding continues, place a moistened tea bag at the bleeding site and bite down for 15 minutes on the tea bag. Remove the tea bag and reapply pressure with the gauze pack. If this does not stop the bleeding, please call for further instructions.


You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, 1 or 2 Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every four hours. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol. Ibuprofen, bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2 200 mg tablets may be taken every 4 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medications if you are allergic, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.


The doctor should have prescribed you an antibiotic to use before and after surgery, make sure you finish the entire round of antibiotics, because they help prevent infection. 


Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise. Do not engage in any strenuous activity for three days after surgery. After three days you may begin light workouts and resume normal physical activities one week after surgery unless instructed otherwise.

Wearing your Prosthesis

Your doctor will advise you when you may wear partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures. This will vary from case to case and must be determined on an individual basis.

Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. However, you may be given a prescription for an anti-bacterial mouth rinse (chlorhexadine gluconate) and you will be given instructions regarding when to start using this mouth rinse. There may be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue.


Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or food. Take only clear liquids the day of surgery. Soft foods and may also be eaten on the day of surgery only if you are specifically instructed to do so. Begin a soft diet the day after surgery and return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed. Do all of your chewing away from the implant site or sites if possible.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. The night of surgery, use the prescribed Peridex (chlorhexadine gluconate) Oral Rinse before bed rinse gently. The day after surgery, the Peridex should be used twice daily, after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds then spit it out. Warm salt water rinses (one level teaspoon of salt in an 8 ounce of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day, as well, especially after meals. Begin brushing your teeth the day after surgery. Avoid brushing the healing abutments on the implants until instructed to do so. Be gentle brushing near the surgical areas. Your doctor may give you a special toothbrush to use for a few weeks after surgery.