With proper bone grafting aftercare, patients can help grafts bond strongly with the surrounding jawbone. It’s this process that fortifies the bone, creates a more stable platform for tooth restorations, and returns form and function to the smile.
The full bonding process can take 2-4 months, but your recovery from surgery should only be a few days. After bone grafting, you can expect about a 3-5 day recuperation with limited activity on Day 1 and Day 2. You may be able to return to your regular schedule by Day 3, though this depends on how quickly your body heals, your tolerance for discomfort, and how physically demanding your typical day is.
Union Oral Surgery likes to have patients come back for a checkup about two weeks after our doctors have performed the bone grafting treatment to ensure that they are healing well. We can schedule this visit in advance or after the procedure.
Your bone grafting surgery is not just your results. Union Oral Surgery also supports the experience you have along the way: the communication you receive before a procedure, the comfort you have during surgery, and the guidance you receive with pain management afterward.
With bone grafting aftercare, our patients can expect to receive three different kinds of medication:
- A stronger pain medication to reduce discomfort on the first and second days following the procedure.
- A second, less powerful pain medication for the first through fifth days. This medication is also an anti-inflammatory to help reduce swelling.
- Some patients take an oral antibiotic to prevent infection.
After bone grafting, your doctor will encourage you to keep your head elevated and to use an ice pack that we provide for at least two hours. Swelling in the surgical site is common, and icing the area lessens these effects. Apply the ice pack for about 20 minutes at a time with 20-minute breaks in between.
Stitches and Bandages
Your doctor may apply stitches to help you heal more quickly. These stitches are usually absorbable, which means that they will dissolve on their own within 3-5 days. If the stitches are not absorbable, Dr. Patty will remove them at the two-week post-operative visit.
You may notice some loose bone grafting material around the site as it heals. This material has a soft and grainy texture, and it’s perfectly normal if some of the graft works its way out of the stitches.
After your surgery, your doctor will provide you with gauze sponges you can use to manage bleeding. Change the gauze every 15 minutes for about two hours or until the bleeding has stopped. You may continue to have a small amount of bleeding for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Diet and Bone Grafting Aftercare
Patients should stock up on soft foods before their procedure. Expect to eat this type of diet for about five days after the surgery.
If you’re unsure about what is and is not okay to eat, just think about a menu of foods that you can easily chew, and that won’t disturb the surgical site. Most patients do well with spaghetti, casseroles, mashed potatoes, yogurt, and other foods that provide nutrition without requiring a lot of effort to bite.
The way that you rinse and brush is an important part of bone grafting aftercare:
- Do not rinse or spit for the first 24 hours. This can put a strain on the surgical sites and hinder the healing process.
- Prevent infection by using the antibiotic mouth rinse we provide for the first few days after surgery.
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush until you’ve healed from the surgery. Skip toothpaste the first night.
- By the fifth day after your procedure, you should be able to return to a normal hygiene regimen.
At any point in your recovery, contact Union Oral Surgery with questions you have about bone grafting aftercare. Call or email our offices at (704) 291-7333.