A dental implant replaces the root of a natural tooth. It is surgically placed into the jaw bone and acts like an artificial root.
Implants can be used to replace top or bottom teeth or to retain a denture or partial denture for increased stability. A restored dental implant has three parts: the implant, the abutment and the crown. The abutment is used to connect the implant to the dental crown. The implant crown is able to be flossed and brushed like a natural tooth. They have high esthetics and durability.
Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. There will be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue. Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues please call for further instructions. 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. Apply the ice continuously, as much as possible, for the first 36 hours. Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or food. Soft food and liquids should be eaten on the day of surgery. Return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.
Use pain medication only as directed. It can help to take your prescription, alternating every 3 hours with anti-inflammatory medication (600 – 800 mg of Ibuprofen). Do not take anti-inflammatory medication if you are allergic to it, or if you have been instructed by your doctor not to take it.
For example: Take anti-inflammatory medication at 6 am. Then take your prescription at 9 am, then take your anti-inflammatory at 12 pm, then take the prescription at 3 pm, and so on.
The important thing to remember is that you must let 6 hours pass between doses of anti-inflammatory medication. And you must not take your prescription doses any sooner than directed on the label. If you were prescribed a medication containing Ibuprofen (ex. Vicoprofen) do not consume any additional anti-inflammatory medication. As you begin to feel better, you can stretch the times out, eventually discontinuing all medication. After a few days, most patients are able to take Tylenol and Ibuprofen for discomfort, instead of the prescribed pain medication. Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.
Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Warm salt water rinses (teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day, as well, especially after meals. Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is no problem. Be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas.
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise. Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures should not be used immediately after surgery and for at least 10 days.
Call our office right away if you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, increased swelling after two or three days, or a reaction to the medication. After a few days to a week you should be able to resume your normal activities. After hours, if you have an emergency, you may page the doctors. You will need to call the office to get the current paging number off of the answering machine. If for some reason you cannot reach us and you have an emergency, please call 911, or go to the emergency room. Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns, 770-479-3713.