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Bone Grafting Healing Stages

If you lose a tooth as an adult, between 40 and 60 percent of the tissue and bone that supported it begins to break down and atrophy in as little as six weeks. With bone tissue grafting and dental implants, you can restore your jawline and smile confidently.

What is a bone graft?

A bone graft is typically made up of many small particles of bone. Depending on your individual condition, a bone graft may be taken from the hip, shinbone, or other area of your jaw.

What are the healing stages I can expect after a bone graft procedure?

You may experience one or more of the following stages after a bone graft procedure:

  • Stitches
    You will have several stitches to pull your tissue over the bone-grafting site following the procedure. A bone graft site may need to fill more than what was originally there to provide structural stability. If this is the case, it’s important to avoid pulling your lips or cheeks back to examine the area. Excess pressure can cause the stitches to pull away from the surgical site, expose the bone graft, create unnecessary pain and significantly delay the healing process.
  • Bleeding
    Most people experience a certain amount of bleeding following a bone graft procedure; in fact, light oozing or blood-tinged saliva is typical for the first 12 to 24 hours. Gauze, tea bags and tannic acid may be used to help slow or stop the bleeding.
  • Swelling
    It is not uncommon to experience swelling around the teeth, gums, mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of your face following a bone graft procedure. Swelling is usually most prominent during the first 24 to 48 hours. Ice packs may be left on for 30 minutes, then removed for 30 minutes to help minimize swelling and discomfort.
  • Pain
    As with any surgical procedure, you will likely experience some level of discomfort. It is important to begin taking any prescribed or recommended medications before you experience any pain or discomfort — it’s much easier to manage pain than it is to chase it. Antibiotics may also be required to prevent infection, be sure to take the entire prescription until it is gone (unless a rash or other unfavorable reaction occurs, in which case please contact your doctor immediately).
  • Diet
    After a bone graft procedure, your ability to chew and swallow will be limited, so start with plenty of fluids and work your way up to soft, cool foods. Avoid anything hot, hard or crunchy as they could harm the surgical site. However, it is best to return to solid foods and your normal diet as soon as possible.
  • Oral Hygiene
    Encourage healing and avoid infection by following your post-operative oral hygiene instructions. Start with four to five daily warm salt-water rinses beginning the day after your surgery. Be sure to rinse gently to avoid disturbing the bone graft.

Our skilled surgeons will determine the best treatment for your individual implant needs. Contact us at 215-322-7810 to get started.