After Placement of Dental Implants

After your dental implant surgery, there are several instructions to follow to ensure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible. The day of surgery, do not disturb the surgical site. For the next 3-5 days, your activity level should be almost nothing. We recommend that you rest and keep your head elevated 30-45 degrees that day (Example: prop your head up on two pillows). You may see a metal or a white protective healing cap protruding through the gum, this is normal.


After surgery, it is not uncommon to have some bleeding or redness in your saliva for the first 24-72 hours. Excessive bleeding can be controlled by biting down tight on the moist gauze after it has been dipped in ice water. Proper placement and pressure of the moist gauze should slow and stop the bleeding.

Swelling is expected with any type of surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time once or twice per hour. This should be done as much as possible for the first 36 hours. After day 3, if you are still swelling, please switch to moist heat such as a hot cloth or heating pad. Moist heat will help you with tight/sore muscles as well.


Once the bleeding has stopped and the sensation has come back, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid hot liquids or foods for the first day. Soft foods and liquids can be eaten on the day of surgery, and should continue for the first 5 days. (Examples: apple sauce, yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, soup, etc.). If you have had an extraction, you need to avoid straws for 7 days to avoid a dry socket, which is very painful.

Pain Medicine/Antibiotics

There are several ranges of discomfort that are normal once sensation returns. You should begin taking your prescribed pain medication 2-3 hours after your surgery. This will get you ahead of the pain since your numbing medicine should last anywhere from 4-6 hours after surgery. If you were given Ibuprofen 600mg, please take it 3 times daily for a minimum of 5 days to help with pain. Even if you are not in pain, continue it to help minimize swelling and delayed soreness.

If you were prescribed antibiotics prior to your surgery, you will need to finish them to help prevent any type of infection.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is critical to the healing process. The evening after your surgery, it is OK to lightly brush your teeth, but you need to stay away from the surgical sites. We recommend NO RINSING until the day after your surgery. Warm salt water rinses should be used at least 4 times a day. By “salt water” we recommend a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.

Sinus Grafts or Bone Grafts

If you had a bone/sinus graft procedure, there are some additional instructions that are critical to your recovery. Sinus precautions are the MOST important instructions you can follow after the sinus graft procedure. **Note: with these procedures you are more susceptible to bruising.**

Sinus Precautions

  1. Continue antibiotics as prescribed.
  2. Take an over-the-counter sinus medication as needed for sinus symptoms.
  3. Salt water rinses 3-4 times a day, very gentle.
  4. Afrin may be used for 3-4 days, for any congestion.
  5. Avoid bending over for the first week.


You may notice bleeding or bloody drainage from the nose which is normal and may last several days. If you have to sneeze, do so with your mouth open!


You may have or have received a removable partial, flipper, or essex at the time of surgery. We have adjusted it so you can wear it after the surgery. We recommend during the first week to leave it OUT as much as possible. Also, try to avoid using it when you eat to avoid forces on the dental implant the first week. With dentures, we place a soft liner in the denture so that it can be used. NO adhesive in denture during the first week. Upper dentures can be worn, but leave out when not necessary. Lower dentures are adjusted and soft relined at the time of surgery but they are very difficult to wear the first week. We recommend they be left out during this time. After 5-7 days as swelling and soreness decrease, they can be worn. **Note: these instructions are different based on the procedure. In some cases you will go home with the prosthesis in place. Dr. Capes will call and review your specific instructions that night.**

Possible Complications

If you experience numbness of the tongue/lip/chin, there is no need to worry as this is usually temporary and will return to normal. Nerves can be bruised when working in the mouth and it takes a little longer for the sensation to return to normal. Just remember to be careful so you don’t bite your tongue/lip/cheek.

  • Nausea/vomiting can sometimes occur after surgery. If you experience either of these, please call our office and we can get a prescription called in.
  • You should always be careful the day of surgery when getting up to use the restroom, etc. Light-headedness can occur very easily once you have been sedated. Be sure to have someone stay with you for 6-8 hours after surgery to avoid falling or passing out from being dizzy.
  • Occasionally patients may feel something that feels like a root left behind in their mouth. These hard areas are the bony walls that surrounded the tooth before it was removed. They usually smooth up over time but if not Dr. Capes can remove them.
  • Slight elevation of temperature after surgery is not uncommon. Tylenol or Ibuprofen should be taken to reduce the fever. If the fever persists, contact our office.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about your progress or any symptom you are experiencing, please call your office at St. Simons Island Surgery Office Phone Number (912) 634-6600. By calling this number you can reach Dr. Capes 24 hours a day.

Contact Our Friendly Oral Surgery Team for Elevated, Comfortable Care

We know oral surgery can be intimidating, but we're here to give you an excellent smile. Our oral surgeons are highly experienced, so you can rest assured that we'll take good care of you. If you have questions or want to schedule a consultation, don't hesitate to reach out to us!

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