dental implants gainesville ga

Dental Implants: Care Following the Procedure

Because dental implants are placed in stages, it is important for patients to follow the post-operative plans we outline. This is the best way to ensure you heal properly and that you get the most out of your new dental implants.

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Stage 1: Extraction

If you required any extractions of existing teeth, this will be the first step in the process. Depending on your specific case, we may also be able to place the implant at this appointment. However, if you have any infection present, we may need to treat it with antibiotics and allow the area to heal before we place the implant.

If we only complete the extraction(s) during stage 1, your post-operative care includes keeping the area clean and allowing any stitches to remain in place for the specified amount of time. We will provide you with instructions on pain relievers you can take if needed. Because we need the blood to clot to promote healing, we will tell you to avoid aspirin, which thins the blood.  

We will provide gauze after your procedure too, which you will need to change every 15-30 minutes for several hours following the extraction(s). We always tell our extraction patients to use ice packs on the outside of the face to reduce any swelling. Ice should be alternated 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off for up to two hours at a time.

Other things to avoid (aside from aspirin) include:

  • Smoking: the chemicals can prevent proper clotting
  • Chewing solid foods on that side: wait until all numbness has subsided
  • Using straws: sucking may pull at the clot
  • Touching the extraction site

Stage 2: Implant Post Placement

If we were not able to place the implant post(s) when the extractions were completed—or if extractions were not needed—the implant placement will be a separate appointment. Care following this stage is largely the same as in stage 1. Your main priority here is to keep the surgical site clean, and to not disturb the blood clot.

We recommend getting extra rest for the first day following implant placement. Use pain relievers as outlined for you at your appointment. We also recommend the same procedure for ice packs, as you may experience swelling.

Some minor bleeding is common for the first couple of days. It may look worse than it is, since it is mixing with saliva. However, if you do not see a gradual lessening of the amount of blood each time you change the gauze, try gently biting down on a moist tea bag. If this still does not help, call the office.

Just as with the post-extraction protocol, there are several things not to do, including:

  • Smoking: the chemicals can prevent proper clotting
  • Chewing solid foods on that side: wait until all numbness has subsided
  • Using straws: sucking may pull at the clot
  • Touching the extraction site

During the healing phase after the implants have been placed, your body needs time to allow the bone to fuse to the implant post. For the first several weeks, you will need to avoid chewing on that side, and you will want to choose softer foods.

Stage 3: Implant Restoration

This is the final stage, where we restore the implants with your final crowns or prosthesis. If you are getting a single implant and crown restoration, your post-operative instructions include avoiding chewing on that tooth for 24 hours. This ensures the crown cement has set properly. After that, you can resume normal activity.

In cases where we are completing a removable prosthesis—a full or partial denture—you can resume regular activity immediately. Remember that regular cleaning of your prosthesis is just as important as regular oral hygiene. We will provide take-home instructions, including the importance of not allowing the prosthesis to dry out, as this can permanently damage it.

Throughout all these stages, you must maintain good oral hygiene. Continue to brush and floss, with extra care around any sore areas. Salt water rinses are beneficial as well but wait until after the first 24 hours of any procedure, so you do not disturb the clotting process.