With any kind of dental surgery, caring properly for yourself and your mouth helps ensure that your mouth heals quickly and cleanly. With dental implant surgery in particular, the first 7 days post-surgery are especially crucial for laying the foundation for a stable and successful implant.
Ahead, we’ll break down all the do’s and don’ts of days 1 through 7 post-surgery, and beyond. As always, follow your dentist’s specific care instructions.
Rest Up! Take time off for at least 24 hours after your implant surgery, and get plenty of rest and hydration throughout the next several weeks.
Diet: For at least 12 hours post-surgery, stick to a cool liquid diet, and avoid drinking anything hot, citrusy, carbonated, caffeinated or alcoholic.
Protect the Clot: For 24 hours after your implant surgery, do not: touch or tongue at the surgical site, rinse your mouth, brush your teeth, spit, use a straw, smoke, or engage in any kind of strenuous activity or exercise.
We know it might seem like a lot, but doing any of the aforementioned can dislodge the newly forming blood clot within the surgical site, which is absolutely essential for healing. Dislodging the blood clot usually results in greatly increased pain, excessive bleeding, longer healing time, and increased risk of infection and other complications.
Reduce Swelling: To reduce swelling or bruising around the face and jaw, hold an ice pack gently against the area, alternating 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. You can also keep your head elevated with a couple of extra pillows when you lay down to rest or sleep during the first 48 hours after surgery.
Start any prescribed antibiotics and painkillers as instructed by your doctor, and finish the antibiotic course as prescribed over the next several days/weeks.
Days 2 & 3:
Cleaning Your Mouth:
After the first 24 hours, you can begin brushing your teeth again but do not brush your gums or the surgical site.
Rinse your mouth with warm salt water after brushing and after meals, stirring ½ a teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of warm water.
Do not floss near and around the surgical site. Do not use a Waterpik at all until at least 4 weeks after surgery.
Keep Taking It Easy:
Avoid strenuous activity and exercise.
Do not drink through a straw, smoke or drink alcohol.
If you’re still experiencing swelling around your cheeks and jaws, switch to a warm compress, again alternating 15 minutes on and off. The warm compress will also help ease jaw stiffness, which might start setting in around now.
You can add warm liquids and soft, easily swallowed-foods to your diet. Avoid any hard, spicy, crunchy, sticky or chewy foods. Avoid any foods that can get stuck in teeth or the healing surgical site, like rice, seeds, nuts and popcorn.
Days 4 through 7:
Easing Back Into Things (With Precautions)
You can resume brushing your entire mouth, but be very gentle around the surgical site.
You can resume light exercise.
Keep up with all other post-op care instructions of Days 2 & 3.
Days 8-14 & Beyond:
Healed Implant Site vs. Fully Healed Implant
You can begin brushing your entire mouth with a bit more pressure.
Keep avoiding hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy foods until your dentist gives you the all-clear.
For most people, the implant site is fully healed by around 2 weeks post-surgery – though it may take up to 4 weeks depending on the patient and/or how many implants were placed. The implant site might still feel a bit tender but should otherwise feel completely healed and normal, and you can resume your normal activities.
Though the implant surgical site heals fairly quickly, it will take about 3-6 months for the dental implant itself to fully heal and bond with the jaw bone.
Keep Up With Your Dentist Visits
Check-in with your dentist for all follow-up appointments to make sure your implant is healing properly. Watch out for any signs of infection, painful swelling that lasts more than 2 days, fever, or trouble swallowing or breathing. Call your dentist immediately if you are experiencing any of these issues.
Postoperative care is all important to the success of your implant! If you have any questions about dental implant care or dental implant surgery, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help!