Considering that tooth loss is such a common occurrence these days, you’d think tips for recovering from a bone graft for dental implants would be more readily available. Now, losing your teeth no longer means you have to live without your teeth and all that they do for you, from eating and speaking to providing the confidence of an appealing smile. Dental implants are quickly becoming the preferred replacement option because of their many lasting benefits, but it’s not as simple as just putting a new tooth in an empty space.
Most patients we see at Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery will need what is called a bone graft before they can sport their new smile. While it may sound like a scary and complicated step, a bone graft is a common step to securing your new smile. With our recovery tips, it should be an easy part of your smile journey.
What is a bone graft?
In order to accommodate and structurally support your dental implant, you need to have a sufficient amount of jawbone. Unfortunately, if you have experienced bone loss in your jaw due to infection from gum disease or simply as a result of missing teeth, it will be recommended that you have a bone graft to prepare for your implant procedure.
A bone graft utilizes bone tissue to repair and rebuild the strength of your jawbone by adding volume and density in the areas where the bone is lacking. Most commonly, the bone graft material is taken from another area of your mouth and placed where a small incision has been made to expose the weakened spot. The gum tissue is repositioned, and the incision is closed with sutures. Over the coming months, the bone graft will heal together with the existing bone structure to form a strong base for your implants.
Tips for Recovering from a Bone Graft for Dental Implants
A bone graft creates a solid foundation for your dental implants, and a smooth recovery from your bone graft can give your implants the best chance of strength and stability.
Use a Cold Compress and Medication
Inflammation should be expected after just about any oral procedure, but the increased blood flow to the area is actually good for your healing. To help make the swelling a bit more manageable, especially in the first 24 hours following your bone graft procedure, try placing a cold compress on your cheek in 30-minute intervals.
Be sure to take all of your medications as you were directed. Over-the-counter pain medications can be utilized to help reduce temporary pain and swelling, while some patients may be prescribed an antibiotic to take before and/or after their procedure. This will help to prevent any infection from developing and delaying the healing process.
Use Caution When Eating and Drinking
As you can imagine, any procedure that disrupts your teeth, gums, and jaw will likely cause you to modify your eating and drinking habits while you heal. Avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, or chewy, as these are most prone to causing pain and could even bring trouble for your sutures or the bone graft itself. Foods like applesauce, smoothies, and soups will be the easiest to consume and won’t risk harming your bone graft. Also, chewing on the opposite side of your mouth from your bone graft and cutting large foods into smaller pieces will help immensely in the first few weeks.
Avoid Straws and Smoking
While a dry socket isn’t as common with a bone graft as with having a tooth removed, it is still a painful possibility during your recovery. Avoiding the sucking motion of straws can also sometimes help you to avoid a grainy feeling that can occur as some of the bone grafting material comes loose from the graft site. And it’s not just for the air pulling that we recommend you avoid smoking after your bone graft. Nicotine slows down your body’s healing process and can increase your risk of infection after oral surgery, so it’s best to avoid it in all of its forms.
Rest and Practice Patience
Your body does most of its healing while you are resting, so use this procedure as an excuse to eat comforting foods while watching your favorite shows. While your initial soft tissue healing from your procedure will only take a few days to a couple of weeks, the internal healing that will provide your new smile with its durability can take a few months.
Call with Concerns
While it is unlikely that you will run into any complications after your procedure, give us a call with any concerns that come up during your recovery. Ensuring a solid recovery from the foundational work on your new smile will better your smile results in the end, and we are here to help in any way we can.
Trust your smile to Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery!
Typically, your bone graft must fully heal before your final implants can be placed to reveal your new smile. This recovery timeline will vary depending on a few factors, like your body’s healing capacity, the type of bone graft that was used, and even the location of the graft itself. Though the visible signs of healing will seem quick, and you’ll feel more like yourself in a matter of a couple of weeks, much of the actual bone growth will happen in the few months following the initial healing. In some instances, a bone graft and a dental implant may be placed at the same time, but the healing timeline will be similar.
Oral Surgery can be intimidating, so our Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery team gives you personalized care that meets your needs. You will feel confident in your care from the moment your contact our convenient Jonesboro, AR, office. Get in touch today to schedule an appointment and see how dental implants can give you a life you can smile about!