What Are Bone Grafts?
Bone grafts are used to fill in areas lost to gum disease. They come in various forms and treat different conditions, including:
- Periodontal disease (gum disease)
- Loss of teeth due to tooth decay or jawbone loss
Bone grafts are not the same as bone replacements—they’re not meant to replace damaged teeth or bones. Instead, they’re used when you have damaged gums, and they stimulate new bone growth to restore jaw density.
How Long Does Your Mouth Hurt After Bone Graft?
Your mouth may hurt for up to a week after bone graft surgery in Los Angeles. Your dentist will provide mouth post-surgery instructions, including how often you should rinse with warm salt water, when you can eat solid foods again, and whether or not you need an ice pack after the procedure.
What Not Do After Dental Bone Graft?
After a bone graft in the mouth, there are a few things to avoid, and they include:
- Avoid hard foods and chewing on the graft site.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Avoid eating hot or spicy foods, as this can damage your new bone grafts and make them more likely to break down in your mouth.
- Do not brush your grafted area for at least 24 hours after surgery.
- Use soft toothbrushes that do not have bristles that are too abrasive (like those made of nylon) since these can scratch the grafted area and cause bleeding.
Can a Dental Bone Graft Make You Sick?
A dental bone graft can make you sick if bacteria enter your bloodstream. This happens when there is a break in the soft tissue around your mouth. Bacteria from other parts of your body can get into this open wound and cause infection. It can also cause nausea and vomiting, which is often caused by anesthesia.
What are the Side Effects of Bone Grafts?
- Pain: You may experience pain in the mouth or throat, which can make eating and speaking difficult. Painkillers may help reduce your symptoms.
- Swelling: Swelling is a natural reaction to the surgery and should go down within a week. If you’re experiencing painful or uncomfortable swelling, try taking an ice pack to your jaw for 20 minutes at a time. This will reduce swelling by constricting blood flow in your face and neck.
- Bleeding: Bone grafting can cause bleeding, but it’s usually not serious. You could also experience bleeding at the incision site; this is normal and doesn’t require medical attention unless it continues for several days or becomes severe. If you’re experiencing excessive bleeding, apply pressure with a clean towel or gauze pad and call your doctor immediately.
- Difficulty in chewing: It can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for the grafts to heal and integrate with your jawbone, so don’t expect yourself to be eating solid foods immediately after surgery.
- Infection: If your bone graft becomes infected, you may get sick from the infection—and this could be dangerous because it can spread through your body easily. See a doctor if you notice any infection (such as fever) signs. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics or other treatments that help reduce the risk of spreading an infection further through your body.
Furthermore, avoid touching the area. This is especially important when you’re going to the bathroom, as it’s easy for bacteria to spread from your mouth to other areas of your body. Keep the area clean using antibacterial mouthwash and rinse with warm water after brushing or eating food.
What are the Aftercare Tips?
After the surgery, you may experience bleeding and swelling in your mouth. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for your graft after it’s been planted.
- Avoid chewing on the side of the graft as much as possible. This helps prevent decay from forming around it and may also help reduce pain from gum recession or bone loss around your tooth socket (where we replaced a missing tooth).
- Avoid smoking for at least six weeks after surgery so that smoking doesn’t affect healing or cause infection at any time during recovery.
- Avoid drinking alcohol for at least six weeks after surgery because drinking alcohol can increase the risk of bleeding complications such as gum recession or bone loss around your tooth socket (where we replaced a missing tooth)
- Do not eat spicy foods because they irritate your gums and throat.
Schedule an Appointment
Visit Brentwood Dental Arts for more information about bone grafting and what to expect.