You have just undergone surgery in your mouth. Your mouth must be cared for just as any operation on any other part of your body. This information is to help explain your post-operative course following the placement of these tissue-integrated prostheses (implants).
For a period of several days, you will experience a moderate amount of discomfort, swelling, and probably bruising. These findings are normal and will resolve, usually beginning on the third day following surgery. The bruising may last for a week or perhaps even longer.
It is recommended that you place ice on your jaw every 20 minutes for the first day following surgery. We will also have placed gauze in your mouth and would like you to use this gauze with firm biting pressure over the surgical site. This gauze should be changed every 20–30 minutes, or when they become soaked. Replace these with fresh gauze pads and continue to bite with pressure for the first 4–6 hours following your surgery. This gauze, of course, can be removed while drinking fluids or when you go to sleep.
You will be on a clear liquid diet for the first 24–48 hours following surgery. This is to ensure that no food particles sit on the surgical sites. After about 48 hours, we will advance you to a full liquid and soft diet. Things such as scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, applesauce, cottage cheese, etc., will be permissible. Ice cream is also very good!
Beginning the day after surgery, you should rinse your mouth with warm salt water after each time you eat. Place about a ½ teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water to make this salt solution. Your doctor may prescribe a special mouth rinse for you as well. Other types of mouth rinses should not be used unless specified by your doctor.
If you smoke, we request that you refrain from smoking for a period of at least 5 days. This is recommended to improve your chances of proper and adequate healing. Perhaps you can use this time to quit smoking permanently! Alcohol can also interfere with healing. You should avoid beer or other alcoholic drinks for at least 5 days and for as long as you require the pain pills.
We have given you 2 prescriptions. One is an antibiotic. Take these medications, as prescribed, until they are finished. This is to reduce the chances of infection. Your second prescription is for an analgesic or pain medication. It may be used following surgery as prescribed on the bottle. Pain medications may cause nausea and vomiting, so it is recommended that these medications be taken with food.
We will initially see you approximately 1 week following your surgery to assess the post-operative progress. We anticipate removing your stitches after about 1 week. We will see you in the office on a periodic basis to follow your post-operative progress.
After the swelling of the gums has resolved and most of the tenderness has gone away, your dentist will be able to fabricate a new temporary denture for you or modify your existing denture. This usually takes approximately 2–4 weeks. You may then wear this denture as you would your present dentures. It will still be important for you to avoid hard, chewy foods over the next several months.
We anticipate a healing period of approximately 4–6 months before the implants are then exposed through a second surgical procedure. A cap or abutment is then screwed into the implant, and after healing of a short period of time, your dentist will be able to begin fabrication of your new prosthesis.
If you wear a denture on the opposite jaw of the surgery, you may wear this denture immediately after surgery. You should not use it to chew hard foods, however, and you should not wear it at night. Wearing it at night could cause injury to the surgical site.
If you have problems, questions, or concerns during the weekday, please feel free to call our offices. If you need to reach us in the evenings or on weekends, please call our paging service number, which is listed above. The page operator will page the on-call doctor from our group, and he will return your call as soon as possible.
It is important to us that we make your post-operative course as smooth and comfortable as possible. We want you to know that if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask us at any time. Our goal is to give you the finest oral surgical care possible. This includes not only the surgery itself but the post-operative follow-up and treatment as well.
We welcome and thank you for the opportunity to become involved with your care.
One of our doctors is always available. If you have any questions, concerns, or problems, you may contact the doctor on call by phoning the office, or after office hours, call our paging service at (217) 241-8606.