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Postoperative Instructions for Dental Implant Placement

These instructions will help you to understand the expected postoperative condition and explain the recommended care while you are healing.

Implants are Titanium fixtures that are placed in the bone to anchor replacement teeth. In general the implant must heal in the bone for a number of months before the replacement teeth can be made.

Implants may be placed as a one or two stage procedure

Two Stage Procedure

The implant is covered over by gum tissue, usually with sutures. A second, minor procedure is necessary to uncover the implant and place an abutment.

One Stage Procedure

The abutment is placed on the implant at the time of the implant placement surgery. Sutures are generally not used in one stage procedures. A metal abutment will be seen protruding from the gum tissue over the implant.

Temporary Replacement Tooth (teeth)

If the implant is replacing a front tooth, usually a temporary tooth appliance is made by the general dentist. This appliance may be worn immediately over the implant site in either a one stage or two stage situation. In one stage placement situations, the appliance may have to be modified to fit over the abutment.

Diet

After implant placement, a liquid, soft diet on the opposite of the mouth is advised. Do not chew directly over the implant for the first week. Also avoid hard food such as nuts or uncooked carrots when chewing on the side of the implant.

Swelling

After implant placement there may be some swelling of the surgical area and the adjacent facial tissues. The maximum swelling occurs during the first 24 hours after the procedure. It then starts to slowly recede over the next 5 -7 days. To minimize the swelling, place ice packs over the affected area 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for the rest of the day. It is not necessary to sleep with the ice pack on. After the first 24 hours, it is not necessary to continue the cold application.

It is also recommended that you elevate your head at night and sleep on a few extra pillows. This will decrease some blood flow to you head and neck region and help to limit swelling.

Postoperative Discomfort

Patients may experience discomfort in the surgical region after procedures. The pain medicine that was recommended or prescribed should be started as soon as possible, before the local anesthetic wears off. This will allow time for the medicine to be absorbed from the GI tract into the blood stream. Please take the medicine as directed. If you feel that the medicine is not working, please call your doctor for further advice.

Infection

After surgical procedures, there is always a chance that an infection might develop. This does not happen in most cases. After procedures that have a higher incidence of post-operative infection, a prescription for antibiotics may be given. Please take this medication as directed until it is finished. Women taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills) please note: penicillin and penicillin-like drugs temporarily decrease the effectiveness of the birth control pills. Other methods of contraception are recommended while taking these antibiotics.

General Care and Oral Hygiene

After an implant procedure it is all right to brush your teeth. However please avoid the area around the surgical site for 4-5 days. After 5 days you may brush the abutment, however please avoid using an ultrasonic or mechanical toothbrush on the abutments as the vibration may impair the bone healing to the implant.

Gentle rinsing with water or salt water is recommended. Occasionally a prescription rinse will be recommended. Smoking may impair healing of oral wounds. It is recommended that patients not smoke during the healing period.

Warning Signs

If any of the following should occur, contact us during the day at (847) 272-9516, or during the evening or night call (847) 272-9516 and ask the answering service to page the doctor on call.

  • Bleeding which cannot be controlled by biting firmly on gauze for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Pain which is not alleviated by the prescribed dose of medication. Do Not experiment with higher doses.
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • An increase in swelling after the first 48 hours, or swelling which interferes with swallowing.
  • A very foul-tasting discharge that is unrelieved by normal oral hygiene.
  • Temperature greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other Instructions

If you have received I.V. sedation for your procedure, you should rest at home with moderate activity as tolerated.

For the next 24 hours:

  • Do Not drive a car, operate machinery or power tools.
  • Do Not drink any alcoholic beverages including beer.
  • Do Not engage in any athletic sport activities, such as, basketball, jogging, etc.

Questions or Problems

If you feel that you are experiencing any problems or have any questions please call either Dr. Nickel or Dr. Steinberg at (847) 272 9516. On weekends or after hours this number transfers to the answering service and the “on call” doctor will be contacted.

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