After Placement of Dental Implants
The healing phase of implant placement is typically 4 – 6 months, where the implant threads become tightly connected to the surrounding bone. This is called osseointegration. The goal is to have your implant integrate or connect tightly with your bone and this can only be done without disturbance. When your implant has successfully connected with the bone, you will be able to chew a normal diet.
There will be a metal healing button protruding from your gums. Stitches are placed in a specific, precise way to hold in your bone graft and allow your gums to heal beautifully.
- Do not disturb the surgical site with your tongue, fingers, q-tips, etc.
- Do not pull or tug at the stitches.
- Do not put any chewing pressure on the metal button, nor allow your tongue to push or play with the metal healing button, because this will loosen the implant from the bone during the delicate 4-6 months of healing phase.
- Do not smoke or put a cigarette or cigar on top of your healing site. This will kill the nutrients being carried in your blood towards the healing bone/implant interface and cause failure.
After 4 – 6 months, Dr. Hullett will test the implant to ensure success and clear you for the next step with your restorative dentist for crown fabrication. We will send a letter with your implant details to your dentist, and you will call them for an appointment at their office. This will help them prepare and create a seamless schedule.
Very little to no bleeding is expected with implant surgery. There is no need to bite on gauze or use gauze pressure on the implant site.
Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag, or a plastic bag or towel filled with ice, on the cheek in the area of surgery for 10 mins on and off. Ice packs are most effective in preventing swelling in the first 24 hours.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing.
- Peridex rinse should be used twice daily, usually after breakfast and before bed. Gently swish for at least 30 seconds then gently spit it out.
- Warm salt water rinses (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 5-6 times a day as well, especially after meals. Gently swish, gargle and spit.
- Brush your teeth, the metal buttons and surgical site very gently with a soft toothbrush in circular motions. Do not push against the metal buttons with the toothbrush.
Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or food. A soft, mushy diet should be followed on the first week of surgery and advancing to a regular diet after a week.
Chew on the opposite side and avoid directly chewing on the surgical site (implants) for FOUR MONTHS to help prevent abnormal lateral forces and micro-movement of the implant while it is integrating with your bone.
You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken four times daily, not to exceed 3200mg daily for an adult. Consult our practice for individuals under 18. Do not take the two medications at the same time. Please check with your treating surgeon to ensure these OTC medications are appropriate for you.
For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic to them, or have been instructed by your doctor not to take it. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain or discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day. If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.
Do not take additional Tylenol if you are prescribed narcotic medication, as this will lead to elevated levels of Tylenol which is extremely harmful to the liver.
Prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. Finish the course of the prescription unless there are adverse affects (upset stomach) or allergic reaction and contact the office for further instructions.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking in normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.
Wearing your Prosthesis
Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures, should not be used immediately after surgery for at least 10 days, as discussed in the pre-operative consultation. Your prosthetic may need to be adjusted by your general dentist to prevent pressure on the implant site. If you are using a prosthetic in a cosmetic area (front), then it can be adjusted in order to relieve pressure on the implant.