Dental Implant Surgery Post-Op Care Instructions

After Dental Implant Surgery


A mild to moderate amount of bleeding or oozing is expected following dental implant surgery. Bite down gently on any gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical site, making sure they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour, unless the bleeding is not controlled. If active bleeding persists, place enough gauze to obtain firm pressure over the site for an additional hour. The gauze then may be changed as necessary. If bleeding has not slowed down after 4-5 hours, place a moist tea bag over the surgical site and bite down firmly for 1 hour. If bleeding persists, please call the office.


Swelling is a normal occurrence after oral surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack or cold compress on the cheek adjacent to the area of surgery. Apply the ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 48 hours following your surgery. After 48 hours, begin applying moist heat packs to decrease swelling and stiffness.


Drink plenty of non caffeinated and non alcoholic fluids. Avoid really hot liquids or food. Following your implant surgery, your diet should be limited to liquids and soft foods only. You may return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed. If you have a healing abutment (metal post) sticking through the gums, DO NOT use this to chew food. Make every attempt to chew on the opposite side of your mouth. If you feel that the healing abutment is interfering with your other teeth, or is becoming loose, please contact our office immediately.


Oral surgery will likely cause some degree of discomfort. If you were prescribed any medication for pain, you take it only for severe pain and do not abuse it, some medications may be addicting. It is advisable to take your pill(s) with a light meal to reduce the chance of nausea. The effects of pain medication vary widely among individuals. If you do not achieve adequate relief at first, you may supplement with an analgesic such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). 

Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery. Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort. Warm salt water rinses (teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) can be used at least 4-5 times a day, especially after meals. Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is no problem. Be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas.

Dentures or other prostheses

Following dental implant surgery, full, or partial dentures, or flippers may occasionally be used and worn after your procedure. Please follow any instructions given by Dr. Hinckley during your consultation.

What is a Dry Socket?

There will be a cavity (a.k.a. socket) where the tooth once was. Soon after the procedure a blood clot will form in the socket and help with healing. The cavity will then gradually fill in over the next month with new tissue. In the meantime, the area should be kept clean, especially after meals with salt water rinses or a toothbrush. You will be given a syringe at your follow-up visit to assist in cleaning your socket(s).

A dry socket is when the blood clot gets dislodged too early from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain in the ear may occur a week following surgery. Call the office if your discomfort cannot be managed with the prescribed pain medications.

1 Week Post Surgery

One week after the Wisdom Teeth procedure you can begin irrigating the lower sockets with the syringe and warm salt water.

  • You only need to irrigate the lower wisdom teeth sockets
  • Fill the syringe with warm salt water
  • Gently flush the socket
  • Repeat this 2-4 times or until the water comes out clear like it is going in
  • You will have to irrigate with the syringe until the sockets are completely closed (sometimes 2-4 weeks depending on your healing process).

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