After Implant Placement: Home Care

Post-Op Instructions for Dental Implants

A printable version of these instructions can be found here.

Initial Gauze Dressings:

Place this alongside the surgical site, hold pressure for 30 minutes to stop bleeding.


Intermittent bleeding or oozing is normal. Bleeding should never be severe. If it is, try repositioning fresh packs to allow you to place firm pressure over the area. Always hold pressure for a minimum of 45 minutes at a time. If bleeding persists you may substitute a tea bag for the gauze. Wet the tea bag with hot water, squeeze it damp-dry, and wrap it in moist gauze. Apply pressure over the surgical area for 45 minutes. If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office. Gauze will look light pink, spotted, or rusty colored when bleeding is controlled. When bleeding is controlled, gauze may be left out.  You may choose to sleep with a towel over your pillow, and your head slightly elevated.  Avoid heavy lifting or exercise for the first 48 hours.

Use Caution:

Do not disturb the surgical area today. Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects or your fingers. DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours, since it is detrimental to healing.


Often, there is some swelling associated with oral surgery. You can minimize this by using a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the face or cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 12 hours after surgery. If there was an infection in the area, we recommend not using ice to help your circulation aide in overcoming the infection.


In nearly all cases, if you experience nausea it is most likely from your prescribed narcotic pain medication. Allow nausea to subside and take a smaller dose at your next interval. Often, breaking the tablet in half is sufficient to control pain without nausea. If nausea persists, please call our office.


DO NOT CHEW ON YOUR NEW IMPLANT. Chewing on your implant before your surgeon has determined that it is completely healed may make it fail. Take out gauze packs while before eating. Eat any soft nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Avoid extremely hot foods. Avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., that may get lodged in the socket areas. Over the next several days, you can progress to solid foods at your own pace. It is important not to skip meals! If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort, and heal faster. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible. Follow instructions from your physician regarding your insulin schedule. On the day of surgery, do not use a straw, spit, or suck on anything. After surgery day, straws are ok to use as long as you don’t have any further bleeding.

Dental implants act as your own teeth. Dental implants allow for patients to retain 90% of their chewing ability vs. dentures which retain only 20% of chewing ability. Following healed and definitively restored implants, what this means in practical terms is that most patients with dental implants and implant hybrid solutions are able to eat most anything they should with their natural teeth. However, with single implants and bridge on implants it is essential to avoid chewing on the implant during the healing phase. For hybrid implant solutions, the temporary immediate fixed hybrid during the healing phase should not bite or chew anything harder than you can cut with a fork.

Temporary Appliances:

In most cases, a temporary appliance is provided by your general dentist for aesthetics and space maintenance. This appliance should not put pressure on the tissue. Pressure from the appliance can cause the failure of the implant. If pressure is felt from the appliance, it needs to be adjusted, by our office.

Prescription Mouth Rinse:

Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. You have been given a prescription for chlorhexidine oral rinse: Rinse for 30 seconds with 15ml of chlorhexidine 2 times a day. Use chlorhexidine only during the first 2 weeks of healing. NOTE: chlorhexidine may cause alteration of taste perception during use and may increase staining of teeth and other oral surfaces. To avoid this, use chlorhexidine only during the first 2 weeks of the healing process. There is no need for prolonged use. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes following the rinsing.

Saltwater Mouth Rinses:

On the second day begin saline rinses 3-4 times daily, especially after meals. Using ½ tsp of salt in a tall glass of water will help keep the site clean, feel better and heal faster. We recommend saline rinses for the first two weeks.


Begin your normal hygiene routine the day after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing of all areas, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort. DO NOT USE a Sonicare® or power toothbrush around your implants until your surgeon gives you authorization. Usually, this will be 4 to 6 months. DO NOT USE a WaterPick® or electric flossing device.

Be aware of any other device or mechanism that can introduce vibrations! These devices can cause implant integration issues!

Sharp Edges:

If you feel sharp edges in the surgical areas with your tongue, it is probably the bony walls that originally supported the teeth. Occasionally, small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the first week or two after surgery. They are not pieces of tooth, but if they are bothersome, we will remove them. Please call the office if you are concerned- (509)-Stevenson Dental Care Office Phone Number 509-427-8605

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