Getting dental implants is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Whether to replace damaged or missing teeth or enhance your smile, dental implants will improve your quality of life.
Patients are understandably concerned about what to expect after their implant procedure. Although your oral surgeon will discuss the process with you, following are the most common questions we get about post-procedure care.
Can I Drive Myself Home?
We do not recommend that you drive yourself home. The medications used to sedate you are powerful and may take some time to fully wear off. You may feel groggy or slightly disoriented for a bit. We ask that you arrange for a friend or family member to take you home. Public transportation or a ride-sharing service is also not recommended for your own safety.
When and What Can I Eat?
Generally, you can eat an hour or longer after surgery. For the first week or two, stick to soft foods, such as broth, smooth soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt, applesauce, and smoothies. Avoid hot or spicy foods, as they can irritate the incision sites. Instant oatmeal is another option a few days after surgery but not at first, as the oats can irritate the incision sites. You should also avoid alcohol, which can be an irritant. As your healing progresses, you will be able to eat fork-tender foods.
How Much Bleeding Should I Expect?
Right after your surgery, you will bite down on gauze for an hour or more to control the initial bleeding. During that time, it is essential not to rinse or spit forcefully, as this can worsen bleeding. When you get home, continue using the gauze but contact the office if bleeding is heavy and does not stop. Our team will provide you with further instructions. You may also have been instructed to rinse with a special mouthwash or gargle. Follow those instructions, if so.
Will I Be in a Lot of Pain?
Many patients are surprised that they are not in as much pain or discomfort as they thought. They may return to work and nonstrenuous daily activities within a day or two. That said, there will definitely be some pain or discomfort.
Your oral surgeon will send you home with a prescription for painkillers in most cases. Be sure to take them as instructed. Over-the-counter medicines, except aspirin, are acceptable to use, but not if you are taking a prescription painkiller. Pain can be minimized by following the post-surgical instructions your surgeon provides, such as avoiding hard and crunchy foods, resting, and following oral care procedures.
What Are Other Side Effects?
There can be side effects during any of the healing stages. Expected side effects include minor bleeding, pain at the implant site, swelling around your gums, facial swelling, and slight bruising. It is important to follow the surgeon’s instructions for what to eat and how to care for yourself and your teeth following surgery. Doing so can help minimize side effects.
What if I Suspect a Problem?
Your surgeon will give you clear instructions for contacting them with questions or concerns after surgery and throughout the healing process. We welcome your questions and want to ensure you are healing properly. Although you will have follow-up visits, be sure to contact our office immediately if you see signs of infection such as:
- Continued bleeding
- Pain and trouble chewing
- Redness and swelling
- Bad taste in the mouth that does not go away
- Loose implant
What Are Long-Term Care Instructions?
While most implants are successful, some could fail. There is a correlation between smoking and dental implant failure; your surgeon will suggest quitting smoking. Also, your surgeon will instruct you to keep your teeth, gums, and implants clean by regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings and check-ups. Ask your surgeon about special interdental brushes. Also, avoid anything that can crack or damage an implant, such as chewing on ice or hard candies, opening a bottle with your teeth, and grinding your teeth. If necessary, ask us about a nightguard to wear when you sleep.
South Jersey Oral Surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Can Give Patients a Beautiful New Smile
Dental implants give patients a beautiful smile and healthy, functional teeth. Contact the South Jersey oral surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons to learn how dental implants can restore your self-confidence and oral health. Call us today at 856-582-4222 or contact us online to make an appointment or schedule a consultation. Our offices are located in Washington Township, Haddonfield, and Woolwich Township, New Jersey, and we are dedicated to helping patients throughout South Jersey.