After having any kind of oral surgery, most people just want to sleep. This is partially due to the fact that dental sedation was likely used during the procedure, as well as the fact that the body heals better with rest. Even as the days pass and your body recovers, you will still want to make sure that you can sleep comfortably at night so you will wake feeling refreshed the next morning.
Unfortunately, getting a good night’s sleep is not always easy right after having dental implants placed because of the fact that the procedure affects your face. Luckily, there are some things to do to make yourself more comfortable so that you can get the sleep you need to recover faster. Here are some tips for sleeping after dental implant surgery:
Keep Your Head Elevated
One key thing you will want to remember after dental implant surgery is to sleep with your head elevated. This is because placing your head higher than your extremities helps to reduce blood circulation in the gums. Reducing blood circulation to the gums keeps you more comfortable by preventing bleeding, swelling, and pain. Additionally, it also gives the tissues an opportunity to begin the healing process.
To elevate your head, you can either use pillows to prop up your head or you can sleep in a recliner. It is recommended to sleep with an elevated head for at least the first 72 hours after surgery, especially since swelling is predicted to peak after 48 hours.
Avoid Physical Exertion While Awake
Although you may think that physical exertion during the day can make you tired enough to sleep at night, this is not a good idea after having dental implants placed. For starters, elevating your heart rate increases the risk of bleeding. Not only that, but physical exertion can cause painful throbbing, which can make it hard to sleep later.
Take All Medications as Directed
Your implant dentist will likely provide you with antibiotics to take after you have dental implants placed. It is important to take these antibiotics as directed in order to decrease the risk of possible infection. Although rare, post-operative infections such as peri implantitis can cause excessive pain, swelling, and bleeding that can make sleeping much more difficult.
It is also important to start taking pain medication as soon as you feel the anesthetic wearing off. In most cases, over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen can be used to manage any discomfort. In some cases, your implant dentist may offer prescription pain medications as well. Taking these medications as directed will help to manage your discomfort so that you can comfortably rest.
Another way to manage pain and swelling in order to sleep well is to use ice. In most cases, you can expect your swelling to peak between 2-3 days after surgery, then gradually decrease 5-7 days after surgery. Wrapping an ice pack in a towel and placing it over the affected area for 30 minutes on and 10 minutes off can help to reduce swelling, as well as discomfort. Ice is especially helpful within the first 24 hours after surgery.
Irfan Atcha, DDS, DICOI, DADIA at New Teeth Chicago Dental in Chicago, Illinois is a board-certified general dentist and a nationally recognized expert in dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, and sedation dentistry.