Once you have undergone your dental implant procedure in Dunedin, FL, and a healing cap has been placed, it is critical that you follow some post-operative instructions to stimulate proper healing for great long-term results. Once your procedure is complete, your doctor will provide you with instructions for a single implant with a healing cap meant to guide you through anesthetic recovery. It is important you listen to these instructions and follow them as they are meant to guide you as you come out of any anesthetic used during your procedure.
For the duration of the first-hour post-op, you will need to continue to gently bite onto the gauze that your doctor has placed over the site of the implant. If bleeding continues longer than an hour, do not worry. It is not uncommon for bleeding to continue longer than an hour. Simply replace the gauze with a fresh sterile piece and continue to bite down for an additional 30 minutes. If bleeding continues past that, gently and carefully rinse with cold water and apply a new piece of fresh gauze. When rinsing, be gentle and quick. Vigorous rinsing could prolong the bleeding.
Restrictions within the first 24 to 48 hours will need to be followed to let the implant site continue to heal. You will want to avoid any excess chewing, spitting, and rinsing. Keep physical activity to a minimum. If you are experiencing any discomfort from the procedure, you can take over-the-counter pain relief. It is important to drink plenty of water but avoid using a straw for a minimum of 48 hours. The suction caused by using a straw could cause the implant site to start bleeding again.
If you are a tobacco user (smoking or smokeless), it is critical that you refrain for, at the minimum, an entire week. The use of tobacco products could cause bleeding and hinder the healing process. If you experience any swelling at or around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, or side of the face, do not worry, as it is common. This swelling will typically peak around 48 to 72 hours post-op. Ice packs will be your friend when it comes to dealing with this swelling. Once you have reached 24 hours post-op, you can begin to gently rinse with warm salt water to rinse (up to three times per day) in order to reduce any pain or swelling.
When lying down, you can aid swelling and bleeding by propping your head up with pillows. For 7 to 10 days after your procedure, you will want to eat soft foods that require minimal chewing and drink cool fluids. Once you are able to resume a normal diet, you will want to avoid chewing at the implant site until the permanent restoration has been attached.
When your procedure has been completed, a healing cap will be placed over the top of the implant, which helps heal the gum tissue surrounding the implant site. This cap is only temporary and will be removed by your doctor once he/she sees that the implant site is completely healed and is ready to receive the permanent restoration. You will want to do all you can to protect this healing cap while it is in place. You can do this by taking special care when eating, brushing, and flossing near the area.
You will want to ask your doctor if the toothbrush you are currently using is the best one to use while your implant heals. Your doctor will be able to provide a recommendation for the toothbrush that is best to use as well as additional brushes you can use to assist in cleaning around the implant. If your healing cap comes off for any reason, you will want to contact your doctor immediately so a time can be scheduled to re-attach the cap. You will also want to reach out to your doctor if you are experiencing excessive pain or bleeding that you believe is outside the norm. This goes for if you have any other questions as well about your implant and healing process.