If you have followed our blog lately, you've probably come to learn quite a bit about the ins and outs of dental bone reconstruction. As you know, it is a safe procedure that yields countless benefits. With a bone graft, your jawbone will finally have the bone density to support dental implants.
Since we have covered the surgical processes, we thought we would take some time to cover the post-operative care and recovery period for dental bone graft surgery.
Like any surgical process, the recovery period is crucial to the success of the surgery. We will go over what a patient should expect from the recovery period and what they can do to ensure the best results.
If you have questions or comments, don't hesitate to e-mail us, or dial 416-928-3444.
After Bone Graft Surgery
After we have completed the bone graft surgery, your oral surgeon will thoroughly clean and inspect the surgical site for any issues that might present themselves. With any luck, they'll determine the surgery a success and get you ready for your journey home.
After the surgery, your surgeon will typically place gauze in and around the surgical site. The gentle pressure applied by the packed gauze will reduce bleeding, making for a more manageable post-surgical period. While you might experience bleeding for several hours after the surgery, the gauze should promote healthy clotting over the course of the day.
How Often Should I Change the Gauze?
During the first few hours, you will need to change the gauze somewhat frequently. We advise patients to inspect the gauze every 30 to 45 minutes to see if the minor bleeding is under control. If at any time the gauze seems to have sufficiently absorbed blood from the surgical site, carefully change the gauze.
We recommend that patients avoid vigorous rinsing or the use of mouthwash during the initial recovery period. Excessive rinsing has the potential to dislodge the blood clot that has formed within the surgical site. If the clot dislodges, the site will begin to bleed again, which only slows down the healing process.
Brush and Floss Carefully
During the first few days of recovery, we advise our patients to avoid brushing or flossing near the surgical site. While we do encourage brushing, it must be done with the utmost care. Getting the toothbrush bristles too close to the surgical site puts you at risk of washing away the newly-formed blood clot.
What About Physical Activities?
Patients are not allowed to drive for 24 hours after receiving sedation or while they're taking pain medications. We advise our patients to arrange transportation for the journey home after undergoing surgery.
Otherwise, light physical activity is permitted during the initial 2-3 days. Try to avoid running and heavy lifting during this period. Due to your compromised state, you might find yourself lacking the nourishment needed to complete demanding activities such as these.
How Long Is the Recovery Period?
The initial-and most crucial-recovery period lasts roughly around two weeks. For these two weeks, it is important that you tend to the surgical site carefully and do not do anything to set back the recovery process.
Many of our patients undergo dental bone graft surgery in preparation for a dental implant. In cases such as those, the jawbone will not be ready to support a dental implant for several months. During that period, though, you should not feel any pain or discomfort related to the grafted bone.
Once your oral surgeon has determined that the graft has fused with the existing dental bone, they will begin to plan your dental implant surgery.
Foods to Avoid After Surgery
A healthy, nutritious diet is of the utmost importance during the post-surgical period. A well-balanced diet is one of the many variables that contribute to a speedy recovery and successful surgery.
That said, there are some foods that you should hold off on enjoying until the surgical site has healed. We suggest avoiding the following during the first few days:
- Raw vegetables
- Popcorn and chips
- Spicy food
- High-acidity foods (oranges, tomatoes)
- Hot coffee or soups
There is no reason to risk setting your recovery period back or compromising the success of the surgery. Thankfully, however, there are many foods you can still enjoy during this crucial period of recovery. Some of these include:
- Cold soups
- Soft vegetables
Say No to Straws
Remember to avoid using straws to ingest your liquids during the first few days of recovery. While this might seem like a wise thing to do, the truth is quite different. When you use a straw, the force of the suction puts strain on the surgical site.
Will There Be Swelling?
It is common for our patients to experience some swelling after undergoing surgery. In most cases, the swelling is proportional to the surgical process itself. We advise our patients to be prepared for light swelling around the mouth, cheeks, and eyes. Once again, there is nothing alarming about this sort of swelling.
For many people, the swelling only begins the day after surgery. Typically, the swelling will continue to progress for 2 or 3 days, at which point it will then gradually decrease. To mitigate the swelling, we advise our patients to make use of ice packs. That said, the ice ceases to have any significant impact on swelling after the initial 48-hours of the post-surgical period.
We typically advise our patients to take their prescribed pain medication 3 to 8 hours after surgery. While these medications might make you feel groggy, they will make the pain more manageable. As the days progress, you should expect the pain to gradually subside.
Learn More About Dental Bone Grafts Today
Would you like to learn more about dental bone graft surgery and other treatments we offer our patients? Don't hesitate to browse our website at your leisure. If you have any questions, contact us at 416-928-3444.