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Healing After a Dental Bone Graft: What to Expect

Has your oral surgeon recommended bone grafting before having dental implants? If yes, most likely, you are wondering what the procedure entails and the healing process. But worry not, as we will address most of your concerns in this guide.

A dental bone graft is a procedure done before dental implant surgery. It's necessary if you have insufficient quantity or quality of the jawbone. It prevents exertion of pressure on the bone due to chewing action.

It's normal to feel anxious about the procedure. But most patients don't feel any pain during the healing process. All you need to do is take your antibiotics and visit your oral surgeon for check-ups. 

Contact your surgeon if you feel any discomfort or pain days following the surgery. They will prescribe pain medication to ensure you are comfortable. 

So, what do you need to know about healing after a dental bone graft? Keep reading to find out.

What You Need to Know About Dental Bone Graft Recovery

Let's first discuss why bone graft is needed before diving into the recovery process.

When Is Bone Graft Needed?

If you have missing teeth, the bone underneath begins losing its volume and density. For this reason, it's best to replace it with a dental implant fast enough. Tooth extractions involve the removal of roots that stimulate bone growth. 

A bone graft is usually unnecessary if you have dental implant surgery soon after losing a tooth. But you may need bone grafting if the bone mass cannot support the implant. 

The recovery period can take between two weeks to three months. It varies depending on age, physical health, and oral health. You have to wait for the bone graft to fully fuse with the bones in your mouth for full dental implants surgery.

Most people think that bone grafting only involves using bone material for a part of the mouth. But the procedure doesn't always need human bones. It can be done using other materials like synthetic materials and animal bone.

How to Speed up Bone Graft Healing Process

The healing process will depend on how you care for your mouth. You can do certain things to reduce the risk of complications, like a blood clot or an infection. They include:

1. Good Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is crucial to help with the healing process. Brush your teeth and the area surrounding the surgical site gently. 

Don't use an electric toothbrush. The vibrations can cause inflammation derailing the healing process. 

For further advice on good oral hygiene, talk to your oral surgeon. They'll let you know what you need to do to keep your gums and teeth in the best condition.

2. Change Your Diet

After undergoing a bone grafting procedure, you need to make some changes in your diet. Your surgeon will advise you to take clear liquids for the first few days. 

Drink from a glass and don't use straws as the sucking motion may cause more bleeding. After a week or so, you can move on to soft foods like pureed fruit and mashed potatoes. 

High-protein, high-calorie intake is crucial. Take plenty of fluids to stay hydrated to prevent nausea. 

Avoid hot foods during the first 24 hours. Don't take foods that can get lodged within the surgical site, like popcorns and nuts.

3. Take Antibiotics as Directed

Your oral surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to prevent the risk of infection. It's vital to take all your medication even if you feel fine. 

Discontinue use if you experience a reaction such as a rash. Notify your surgeon immediately, and they will recommend a different prescription. 

If you are taking birth control pills, let your oral surgeon know. Some medications may render them ineffective. You may have to use a backup form of birth control until you finish your entire prescription.

4. Avoid Smoking

Dental bone graft failure is higher in smokers than in those who don't. Studies show that dental implant failure for smokers is 11.28% and 4.76% for nonsmokers.  

Smoking can affect wound healing jeopardizing bone graft success. Avoid smoking or at least cut back when recovering from surgery.

5. Avoid Doing Strenuous Activities

Avoid heavy physical activities during the first few days after surgery. It could cause inflammation disturbing the healing process. Wait until you feel better to start doing your normal activities again. 

Sleep on your back or the opposite side where the surgery took place. Use a pillow to keep your head elevated to prevent blood pooling at the site.


How Do I Know if a Bone Graft Has Failed?

Every surgeon would wish to make your bone grafting experience as smooth as possible. But you have to remember that it is a surgical procedure like any other. 

Bone grafts can fail even when performed by the most experienced surgeon. There are many reasons why this may happen. 

The most common include complications during surgery, lack of care, or oral infections. It's good to know symptoms that show your surgery has failed. Immediate warning signs include: 

  • New bone growing in the gums 
  • Prolonged or intense swelling 
  • The site turning red 
  • Severe secretions from the site of surgery 
  • Intense pain days after the surgery 
  • Gum recession

Signs of failure may become visible months after the surgery. But there are instances where bone grafts fail after the initial treatment. Watch out for the following symptoms to know when this occurs:

  • Worsening of your oral hygiene regardless of regular care 
  • Pain in your head or neck 
  • Difficulty when chewing or eating 
  • Receding of the gum tissue in the area treated 
  • Bacterial infection 
  • Clenching your teeth more than usual

Bone graft failure is uncommon. But understanding the signs is crucial for a successful recovery.

The most crucial aspect of this procedure is cleaning the area around the bone graft well. Failure to do so can cause an infection, resulting in your body rejecting the graft.


Choose the Best Dental Bone Graft Surgeon

The dental graft healing process doesn't have to be a difficult time. Follow the recommendations given by your oral surgeon to ensure a smooth recovery.

Proper post-operative care is vital for this procedure to be successful. It helps to reduce unnecessary pain, swelling, or infection during recovery.

At North Shore Smile Surgery, we pride ourselves on providing quality care. We will give you the amazing smile you desire. Our team of experts in oral surgery will make you feel confident and relaxed during your visit. 

Schedule an appointment today for more information about how we can help you with dental bone grafting and implants. 


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