Dental Implant Post-Op Care

How to Care for Your Dental Implants After Surgery

How to Care for Your Dental Implants After Surgery

Congratulations on getting your dental implants! Once your new smile is in place, proper care is essential during the postoperative period to ensure the success of your dental implant procedure. Make sure you’re following the instructions given to you by your Farmington, NM, implant dentists to avoid complications or infection. Desert Hills Dental Care has also provided the following helpful guide, as a resource for post-op dental implant care. Learn how we can help you smile with confidence for years to come by dialing (505) 327-4863.

Immediate Post-Op Instructions

oral hygiene products - floss, toothbrushes, mouthwash

After the implant procedure, your dentist will provide specific instructions on how to care for your overall oral health and hygiene. These instructions may include:

  • Avoid smoking and using straws for the first 24 to 48 hours
  • Apply ice to the affected area for the first 24 hours to reduce swelling
  • Avoid hard or crunchy foods for the first few days
  • Take any prescribed pain medication as directed
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash as directed
  • Keep the surgical area clean by gently rinsing it with salt water
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment with your Farmington implant dentist in the next few days


Bleeding is a common side effect of dental implant surgery, and it’s normal to experience minor bleeding for the first 24 hours after your procedure. You can manage bleeding by biting down on a gauze pad provided by your dentist for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will help form a clot at the implant site and stop the bleeding.

If bleeding persists or becomes heavy, contact your implant dentist immediately, as this could be a sign of a complication. Your dentist may recommend additional measures, such as reapplying gauze or taking medication to help stop the bleeding.


Swelling is a common side effect of the procedure and can be managed by applying ice to the affected area for the first 24 hours. Avoiding hard or crunchy foods for the first few days can also help reduce swelling. If swelling persists past the healing period or gets worse, contact your implant dentist as soon as possible. 


Your implant dentist may prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort you experience after the procedure. Be sure to take the medication as directed and contact your dentist if your pain becomes unbearable or persistent.


Maintaining a proper diet as your dental implants are healing is essential for a successful treatment and great for your overall health. Here are some guidelines for dietary restrictions to follow for smooth healing:

  1. Stick to soft, lukewarm foods for the first three to four days. Things like yogurt, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, smoothies, and soups are ideal.
  2. Avoid very hot or cold foods against the implant, as temperature extremes can damage the site.
  3. Don’t chew directly on the implant site. Cut food into tiny pieces or mash it before chewing on the opposite side of your mouth.
  4. Choose nutritious whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to support healing. Focus on vitamin C, zinc, and protein.
  5. Stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
  6. Take any supplements prescribed by your dentist to facilitate bone growth and healing.
  7. As the implant integrates, you can gradually return to your normal healthy diet after four to seven days.
  8. Avoid sticky, chewy, crunchy, or hard foods that could dislodge the implant while it integrates with the bone.
  9. Eliminate any foods that get trapped near the implant site easily, like nuts, seeds, popcorn, etc.
  10. Refrain from smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages during recovery as they impede healing.

Oral Hygiene for Post-Op Dental Implant Care

Good oral hygiene habits are a crucial component of post-op dental implant care. Our implant dentists recommend the following steps to keep your new smile clean and healthy:

  1. Avoid brushing or flossing the implant site for the first 24 hours to allow initial healing. After 24 hours, you can begin gently brushing the implant and surrounding natural teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle circular motions when cleaning the implant site. Avoid any harsh scrubbing.
  2. Your implant dentist may prescribe a special antiseptic mouthwash to use for the first several days after surgery. Use this as directed to reduce bacteria and promote healing. Swish very gently without disturbing the implant site.
  3. Once approved by your dentist, begin flossing around the implant very delicately. Avoid snapping floss down on the implant. Carefully slide the floss down beside the implant.
  4. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water two to three times per day, starting 24 hours after surgery. This helps keep the area clean. Mix one tsp salt per cup of warm water.
  5. Drink plenty of water and eat a soft food diet to avoid chewing directly on the implant site.
  6. Avoid tobacco products and alcohol, which can irritate the implant and surrounding gums.
  7. Take any antibiotics or pain relievers as prescribed by your dentist to support healing.
  8. Attend all follow-up dental appointments and visit your dentist regularly after you’ve healed. That way, your dentist can monitor your implants and oral health. Report any concerns immediately.

Physical Activity

Avoid strenuous physical activity for the first few days following the procedure to allow the implant site to heal properly. Gradually return to your normal activity level as directed by an oral surgeon or your dentist. Overexertion may lead to post-op bleeding or discomfort, so do your best to take it easy for the first few days of your recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What medications are usually prescribed after dental implant surgery?
How long does dental implant pain last after the procedure?
Can I sleep on my side after getting a dental implant?
Should I take time off work after dental implant surgery?
What medications are usually prescribed after dental implant surgery?

Most patients receive antibiotics to prevent infection as well as anti-inflammatory pain medication like ibuprofen. Follow dosage instructions carefully and finish all antibiotics prescribed even if swelling and pain subside.

How long does dental implant pain last after the procedure?

Some discomfort is normal for three to seven days, but severe pain is not typical. Implant pain that worsens or lasts more than a week requires medical attention. 

Can I sleep on my side after getting a dental implant?

Try to sleep upright or on your back for at least the first week. Sleeping on your side can put pressure on the implant site and negatively impact the healing process. Use extra pillows for comfort and to remain in place during sleep.

Should I take time off work after dental implant surgery?

If possible, you should plan to take off at least the first couple of days. You may need four to seven days off for adequate rest and healing if your job involves physical activity or long hours. Discuss timing with your implant dentist.

Get All Your Post-Op Questions Answered at Desert Hills Dental Care!

Does dental implant recovery have you wondering what to expect? Desert Hills Dental Care is here to provide tips for implant aftercare, including guidance on medication, eating, activity levels, and more. We want your dental implants to heal smoothly and comfortably. That’s why our Farmington, NM team provides attentive post-op care guidance each step of the way.

Contact Desert Hills Dental Care at (505) 327-4863 with any questions or concerns after your dental implant procedure. We serve Farmington and surrounding areas such as Bloomfield, Aztec, and Upper Fruitland, NM. We’re here to support your progress from surgery to smiling with your new implant restoration!