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After Dental Implants and Bone Grafting


Minor bleeding after oral surgery is expected for 1-2 days. Biting down on gauze immediately after the procedure will control the bleeding. However, if you've had bone grafting, don't bite down too hard as it may displace some of the graft material. Change out the gauze pads every 30 minutes, as needed. Do not sleep with gauze in your mouth. If the bleeding persists, bite down on a moist black tea bag for 30 minutes. Try not to talk for the first half hour after surgery so that you can maintain pressure on the gauze pad. Again, minor bleeding is expected in the first couple days after surgery. If major bleeding occurs, apply pressure and call the office. If after hours, call the after-hours number provided or go to the Emergency Room.


If stitches were placed, they will help control the bleeding. Try not to play with the stitches with your tongue. Certain stitches will dissolve on their own, but others may need to be removed. The team will inform you of which type of stitches you have before you leave the office.


You may brush the surrounding teeth on the day of surgery, but avoid the areas where you had surgery. Brush very slowly and softly. You should perform warm saltwater rinses 4-5 times per day, 30 seconds each. Mix up to a half-teaspoon of salt with a small cup of warm (not hot) water, and swish. This will speed healing. If you were given a prescription antibiotic rinse, follow the instructions on the label and alternate with warm saltwater rinses.


Do not smoke or use dip for a minimum of 7 days (unless told otherwise by the doctor). Smoking will prevent healing, and can lead to infection and/or implant or bone graft failure. You may use a nicotine patch, but not electronic cigarettes.

Ice Pack

Ice packs will help prevent swelling if used in the first 24 hours after your surgery. You can buy an ice pack or simply place ice cubes in a towel and apply to your face in the area where you had surgery, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. Do no apply ice directly to your skin as it will cause skin injury.


Take all medication as prescribed. Do not drive or operate any kind of vehicle while taking narcotic medications. Narcotics may also cause constipation, requiring you to take an over-the-counter stool softener.


Sleep with your head elevated to prevent swelling or throbbing at the surgical site for the 5-7 days after surgery.


Be careful with chewing while your lips and tongue are numb as you may bite yourself and not realize it. After your surgery, you may eat cool, soft foods (ice cream, jello, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc.). Drink plenty of cool, non-carbonated fluids. The next day, you can advance your diet to other soft foods that involve a little more chewing. Do not eat very hot, spicy, or crunchy foods until your surgical site has healed (at least 1 week).


During business hours, if you are experiencing a problem that cannot be addressed by the above instructions, call the office. After business hours, if you experience an urgent problem related to surgery, you may call the after-hours phone number provided with your home care packet. In case of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

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