After Dental Implant/Bone Grafting surgery

After dental implant surgery or bone grafting, do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. After dental implant(s), there will be a metal healing abutment(s) protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue.


Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on gauze placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30-60 minutes. This procedure may have to be repeated. If bleeding continues profusely, please call our office at North Liberty Office Phone Number (319)-382-3113.

Sometimes bruising may occur and if it does, will gradually resolve with time.


Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag (wrapped in a thin towel) to the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice for 20 minutes on the area and 20 minutes off the area for the first 24 hours. Swelling normally peaks 2-3 days after surgery.


  • Do not chew on your recently placed dental implant(s)/bone graft(s) as directed, typically for 8 weeks.
  • If your dental implant(s)/bone graft(s) are confined to one side of your mouth, you may carefully resume a normal diet, chewing on the uninvolved side of your mouth.
  • If your dental implant(s)/bone graft(s) are on both sides of your mouth, you must limit your diet to no-chew or soft chew food.
  • Avoid hot liquids or food until the local anesthesia/numbness has worn off. 
  • Avoid the use of straws for 7 days after surgery.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.


  • Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery.
  • Avoid jarring activities/exercise for at least 2 weeks or as directed. 
  • If you exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising.
  • Advance physical activities and exercise slowly.

Oral Hygiene

  • Brush all of your teeth with toothpaste beginning the day of surgery, taking care to avoid the implant(s)/bone graft(s).  You should brush your teeth at least twice daily thereafter.
  • Wait 30 minutes, then rinse with Chlorhexidine to keep your dental implant(s)/bone graft(s) clean for 7 days (to avoid staining of your teeth, do not rinse your mouth with Chlorhexidine beyond 7 days unless directed to do so).
  • After 7 days of rinsing, you may gently massage the dental implant(s)/bone graft(s) with a soft toothbrush dipped in Chlorhexidine, waiting 30 minutes after brushing all of your teeth with toothpaste.
  • Warm salt water rinses (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 2-3 times a day as well, especially after meals. 
  • If sutures (stitches) were placed, they will fall out on their own in the time frame discussed at surgery.

Wearing your Prosthesis

  • If you use a provisional (flipper or Essix retainer), it must not contact the dental implant(s)/bone graft(s)/gingival (gum) tissues. It is meant for esthetics and speech only, NOT for chewing.
  • If you use partial or full dentures, they should not be used immediately after surgery and then only as directed.

Pain control

To aid in your post-operative pain control and recovery, over the counter or prescription pain medications will be recommended.  These will vary significantly between patients based on age, allergies, medical history, other medications, etc.  Particular differences will exist in regards to recommended medications, dosages, and frequencies.  Doses indicated below are the maximum adult doses, which will vary for children and the elderly.  The lowest dose and frequency able to obtain adequate pain control should be utilized.

Please consult your Post-Operative Pain Control Instructions for specific recommendations.

As a general rule, the following medications are typically recommended:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) – Take 3-4 tablets (200 mg each) every 6 hours with a maximum of 3,200 mg per day.  Ibuprofen or other Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen (Aleve), aspirin, etc. should not be taken concurrently and should be avoided in patients with an allergy to ibuprofen, bleeding disorders, blood thinning medications, ulcers, etc.

If ibuprofen is ineffective in managing post-operative pain, acetaminophen can be added for additional pain control.  This can be taken at the same time as ibuprofen or staggered in between doses of ibuprofen.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) – Take 1-2 tablets (500 mg each) every 6 hours with a maximum of 4,000 mg per day.  Acetaminophen should be avoided in patients with an allergy to acetaminophen, liver problems, heavy alcohol use, etc.

If ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen are ineffective in obtaining adequate pain control, then an opioid pain medication may be necessary.

  • Opioids (prescription pain medications such as hydrocodone/acetaminophen, oxycodone/acetaminophen, oxycodone, etc.) – Take as directed according to the prescription label.  Keep in mind that if an opioid including acetaminophen (Tylenol) was prescribed, you should discontinue the plain acetaminophen.

Start pain medications prior to the local anesthetic/numbness wearing off or at the time directed on your Post-Operative Pain Control Instructions.