After dental implant surgery, you may expect symptoms like soreness, swelling, and mild bleeding. However, some people may be surprised to find that they have a runny nose after their implant surgery. This can be a normal side effect after implant surgery. Take a look at why this happens and how to handle this symptom during the recovery stage.

Why Does This Happen?

Your oral cavity and nose are intricately connected through the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat behind the nose. You also have lots of nerve endings that connect between the nose and mouth. The nasopalatine nerve stretches from your nasal septum down near your front teeth, or central incisors. It makes sense that trauma from oral surgery can affect those branching nerves that run between the mouth and nose.

Another reason people can experience nasal drainage after implant placement is because of leftover congestion from a sinus lift. Before undergoing implant surgery, some people need sinus lift surgery. Sometimes there isn't enough room in the upper jaw to support an implant, so your dentist will have to lift the sinus cavity and place a bone graft. The sinuses' main function is to produce mucous to moisturize the nose, so again, it stands to reason that surgery to both the jaw bone and sinuses would affect the nerves in this part of the face and cause irritation that could cause your nose to drip.

How Can you Deal with This Symptom?

Your runny nose should subside within a few days after implant surgery, so you don't have to worry about dealing with this symptom for too long. Some people may only have a runny nose for a few hours after surgery.

While you may be worried about sneezing, it's actually a good idea to sneeze with your mouth open to avoid sinus pressure. You may want to carry a box of tissues with you so that you aren't spreading your germs to others. Instead of blowing your nose, you'll also want to just blot your nose with a tissue to avoid excessive pressure in your sinuses. Additional pressure can be painful for your sinuses and make symptoms worse, and the pressure could inadvertently dislodge blood clots around the implant site. Besides blowing your nose, your dentist may ask you to avoid other actions, like drinking from a straw, that could cause sinus pressure or affect the implant site.

Lastly, if the nasal drainage is really bothering you, ask your dentist to recommend a decongestant. They can also recommend ointments that you can place in your nostrils to help break up any dried mucus or blood.

Reach out to your dentist for more information about dental implants and dealing with post-op nasal drainage.