Ten tips to follow after implant surgery

Finally, after an extraction, or the loss of a tooth due to periodontal disease or any other problem, you have decided to replace its absence or at least you are seriously considering it: congratulations! This is what I recommend to any patient, whatever their age and case.

Now, as is normal, you have a number of doubts about the procedure, including perhaps the fear of a complex postoperative period or not being able to lead a normal life for a moderate period of time. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Although it may not seem like it, implant placement is a minor, minimally invasive surgery that does not require any hospitalisation and recovery is simple and usually takes place without complications of any kind.

To help you make up your mind, and to see for yourself how simple the process is, I am going to tell you the ten guidelines I give to patients. Don't worry, they are actually very easy to remember.

1. Bleeding

As with any surgery, bleeding is common and inevitable after surgery and can last up to 48 hours after implant placement. To keep it under control, a gauze pad should be placed over the area and bitten down to keep it in place, changing it whenever necessary.

2. To sleep

I always recommend not lying down as usual to sleep the first night, as you should keep your head as elevated as possible to control the bleeding. It is normal to rest irregularly the first night after an operation of this type. Bear in mind that the discomfort can last up to 7 days, and depends a lot on you and the number of implants you have had inserted.

3. Mouth rinses

Immediately after the operation, do not rinse your mouth or spit, at least for a few hours you should resist the temptation. This could destroy the clot and damage the stitches, causing bleeding and prolonging recovery.

From the day after the operation, you can begin the hygiene routine that includes a specific mouthwash for your case, which will be recommended to you at the clinic. Gently, however, so as not to drag forcefully over the wound, which would damage the postoperative period.

4. Dental hygiene

Very much in line with the previous point, the same applies to your toothbrushing routine: for the first 24 hours after the operation, you should not brush your teeth, not even avoiding that area.

Once these hours have elapsed, you can brush them, but very gently and always avoiding the area that has undergone surgery.

5. Inflammation

After surgery such as the placement of one or more implants, the area becomes swollen, which can last for 48 to 72 hours. To alleviate this uncomfortable sensation, the usual remedies for swelling can be used, preferably applying a cold compress to the affected area. If a cooler sensation is needed to combat the discomfort, remember that if you decide to use ice, you should not apply it directly to the skin, as you could burn yourself. It is best to use a cloth or cloth to cover it, and even then, apply it at 10-minute intervals, taking breaks.

6. Diet

It is important to fast after the operation for at least the duration of the anaesthesia, avoiding liquids for at least 2 hours. Once this period has elapsed and the appetite has recovered, a cold, soft diet should be followed for a few days after the operation, avoiding chewing on the operated area.

It is very important that alcohol is not consumed during the postoperative period.

7. Sport

Before resuming sport or physical activity, it is advisable to wait a week after the operation. This also applies to work that involves heavy lifting or physical exertion. This will help you avoid problems related to bleeding, swelling or pain.

In addition, on the day of surgery, it is best to rest as much as possible and not to make any sudden movements.

8. Medication

It may seem silly to insist on this, but the most important thing with regard to medication is to comply with the indications provided by the implantologists after the operation. Whether we have been prescribed painkillers, anti-inflammatories and/or antibiotics, we must respect the times and doses, and not stop taking the medication when we want to or because we think we do not need it.

Seriously, it may seem silly to have to stress all this, but I have seen more than one patient with complications and infection because they decided on their own to disregard all my instructions.

In case of any unfavourable reaction to medication, you should stop taking it immediately and contact the surgeon who operated on you.

9. Tobacco

Having dental implant surgery is a very good opportunity for smokers to quit smoking altogether. Smoking is a particularly significant contributor to the failure rate of implants in both the short and long term. Imagine coming out of surgery of any other kind and constantly exposing the wound directly to tobacco smoke.

In fact, it is often advised, although I am aware that many tobacco addicts would not be able to, to eliminate or at least reduce smoking to the minimum possible, not only after the operation, but also one week before the operation.

Dental implants do not always fail in all smokers, but the chances of complications are certainly higher, as potential problems with tissue irritation, scarring or infection are minimised.

10. Do not touch the area

Although it is difficult for many, it is advisable not to touch the area once the stitches have been removed until complete osseointegration has been achieved. Not only with your hands, which could introduce germs and other pathogens into the area, but also by not touching the implant or its crown with your tongue, which moves them and hinders regular healing and osseointegration.

I hope I have resolved your doubts and that you have seen that the vast majority of indications are basically common sense and do not require a great deal of effort on the part of the patient. That is why more and more people are deciding to replace their lost teeth with implants, which has many advantages in every sense.

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