What to Expect After Dental Implant Surgery

Undergoing dental surgery can be traumatizing to your jaw and other mouth structures. Once you’ve had Burbank zirconia dental implants placed into your jaw, complete recovery may take a few months. During this recovery period, you’ll need to follow your dentist’s advice to the letter. If that means giving up certain things that you enjoy, it’s a small price to pay to ensure that you don’t jeopardize your dental implants.

Like most other dental surgeries, getting dental implants is an invasive procedure. Inevitably, your jaws will need to deal with this trauma.

The following are things you can expect after undergoing dental implant surgery:

1) Swelling

Swelling is a natural response by the body to many forms of trauma. Given that dental implant surgery involves significant incisions into the jaw structures, a certain amount of swelling is to be expected. It’s not uncommon to notice some bruising around the gum area where the surgery took place. The swelling doesn’t begin immediately after the surgery but about 24 hours later. Once the swelling starts, it continues to increase for the next 2 to 3 days. This is not a cause for alarm because it is to be expected. After that, you can expect the swelling to start decreasing gradually. About 10 days after the dental implant surgery, you should notice a significant decrease in swelling. There are some simple tricks you can use to manage the swelling. For example, you can use some ice packs on the side of the jaw overlying the surgical area. Wrap the ice pack in a clean towel to protect your skin. Ice the area for about 20 minutes, then remove the ice pack. After resting for 20 minutes, ice the area again. Repeat this procedure several times every 24 hours.

It’s always best to keep your head elevated as much as possible during this time. Minimize chewing and speaking as much as possible for the first few days after the surgery.

2) Bleeding

Minor bleeding is to be expected in the first 24 hours after dental implant surgery. You can bite on a clean piece of gauze to help control this bleeding. This piece of gauze should be placed directly on the surgical site. Immediately after surgery, keep a piece of gauze over the surgical site for at least an hour to stem any bleeding.

It helps to keep your head in an elevated position as much as possible to control the bleeding. You don’t have to worry about the sutures used because they are resorbable. Never attempt to remove the sutures yourself. If you notice any amounts of excessive or prolonged bleeding, call your dental surgeon for instructions.

3) Pain

After the anesthetics used for the dental surgery wear off, you can expect to experience a certain amount of pain. This is usually not a problem because the doctor will prescribe pain medications for you. It’s best to stick to the pain medication prescribed by the doctor for the first few days. After that, you can switch to one purchased over the counter at your local drugstore. Keep in mind that narcotic pain medications can hamper your ability to do certain things like driving. Also, avoid taking painkillers with blood thinners like Coumadin.

4) Use of Antibiotics

Any surgical procedure carries with it the risk of infection. Your dental surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to help manage any possible infections due to the dental implant surgery. Always take such drugs as prescribed by the doctor. For female patients, some antibiotics may affect how birth control pills. It’s always best to speak with your doctor before a dental implant surgery if you’re taking any birth control pills.

5) Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are to be expected after dental implant surgery. The drugs used to numb the pain during the procedure (anesthetics) tend to have this effect. Nausea is very common when general anesthetics are used. Such nausea should go away within 6 hours or so after the surgery. Call your doctor immediately if it persists.

6) Tentative Oral Hygiene Practices

Proper oral hygiene is always recommended. However, after dental implant surgery, you need to adjust your oral hygiene habits slightly. For instance, vigorous brushing is to be avoided. Similarly, vigorous rinsing of the mouth should also be avoided. Even when brushing gently, avoid the surgical site for at least 7 to 10 days after surgery. This ensures that you don’t compromise the healing at the surgical site.

All in all, some discomfort and oral irritation are to be expected after dental implant surgery. However, these should resolve with time if you keep to your doctor’s instructions.

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