The jawbone is one of the body’s strongest bones, capable of withstanding up to 200 pounds of force. Yet, it is not invincible.

Dental bone grafts are essential for those suffering from tooth loss or jawbone deterioration. They help restore your jaw’s strength and shape, improving teeth functionality and facial aesthetics. However, undergoing bone grafts can raise questions about what to expect afterward.

To help alleviate your concerns, below is a guide on what to expect after getting a dental bone graft.

What Is a Dental Bone Graft?

A dental bone graft surgery involves adding bone tissue to the jawbone to reinforce its structure. This procedure is necessary if you have a weak jawbone due to tooth loss, gum disease, or bone loss. There are several types of dental bone grafts you can get, including:

  • Autografts: Bone from your body parts such as your hip or jaw
  • Allografts: Bone from a different person, usually a cadaver
  • Xenografts: Bone from another species, such as cow, pig, or coral
  • Alloplasts: Synthetic materials like Bioglass or calcium phosphate

Once these dental bone grafts are in place, they create a scaffold for your body to initiate repair. Your own bone tissue uses this structure to grow and regenerate.

Who’s a Good Candidate for Dental Bone Grafts?

If you’re considering a dental bone graft, you may wonder if you’re a suitable candidate for the procedure. Here are some signs you need a bone graft:

You Need Implants for Missing Teeth

Dental implants offer a permanent solution if you have missing teeth. However, a strong jawbone is essential to support your implants. If you have a weak jawbone, you may need to get a bone graft before you receive implants.

You Have Tooth Loss or Gum Disease

Got tooth loss or gum disease?

Even without the need for implants, tooth loss or gum disease can lead to bone loss in the jaw. Bone grafting may be necessary to stabilize your jaw and prevent further bone loss. This will help preserve your dental health.

Bone Loss is Affecting Your Appearance

Bone loss in the jaw can cause your face to appear shorter or the jawline to recede. Getting dental bone grafts will help restore bone mass, enhancing your facial aesthetics. This can also help prevent premature aging.

The Dental Bone Graft Procedure

Dental bone grafts can help restore bone structure in your jaw. Let’s explore how the procedure is carried out:

Anesthesia and Monitoring

Before the procedure starts, you’ll receive anesthesia for comfort during the surgery. Your vital signs will be closely monitored to ensure your safety.

Incision and Graft Placement

The surgeon will make an incision in the gum to access the jawbone. The bone graft material is then placed between the sections of bone that need to grow together.

Securing the Graft

Once the graft material is in place, the surgeon will secure it to ensure stability. They can use a dissolvable adhesive material, a membrane, or specialized screws.

Closure and Healing

After securing the graft, the incision is carefully stitched. This marks the start of bone graft recovery and healing.

What to Expect After Getting a Dental Bone Graft: Dental Bone Graft Healing Stages

Healing from a bone graft can take time. Knowing the stages of healing after the procedure can help increase the chances of a successful recovery.

Stage 1: Immediate Post-Surgery Care (Day of Surgery)

After your dental bone graft procedure, your dentist will give you post-operative instructions. Ensure you follow them diligently.

You may also experience discomfort and minor bleeding immediately after the surgery. To control the bleeding, you can use gauze pads.

Stage 2: Initial Recovery (Days 2-7)

Expect swelling, peaking around the second or third day post-surgery. Applying ice packs can help reduce swelling.

You may also experience pain and discomfort during this phase. Your dentist will prescribe some pain medication to manage these symptoms. For your oral care routine, brush your teeth gently.

However, avoid the surgical site to prevent irritation. Your dentist may also recommend rinsing your mouth with saltwater. This can help reduce the risk of infection.

Stage 3: Early Healing Bone Graft (Weeks 2-6)

During this phase, the graft material integrates with your natural bone. As a result, you may experience reduced swelling and improved comfort.

Continue maintaining a soft diet during this phase. Make sure you attend follow-up appointments to monitor progress.

Stage 4: Maturation (Months 2-6)

In this phase, the focus shifts to the solidification and strengthening of the graft material. The graft material steadily fuses with your natural bone, gaining strength and stability. Gradually, you can resume normal biting and chewing.

Ensure you follow dental care practices to support ongoing healing. This will also help prevent complications.

Stage 5: Long-Term Healing (6+ Months)

The final stage involves full integration of the graft with your natural bone. Integration may take several months, providing essential support for dental implants. Your dentist will conduct an assessment to determine if you are ready for other dental procedures.

Dietary Restrictions After Dental Bone Grafts

After a dental bone graft surgery, follow the dietary restrictions. Not sure what to eat? Here are some dietary guidelines to follow:

  • Avoid hard foods
  • Limit chewy and spicy foods
  • Avoid acidic foods
  • Stick to a soft and balanced diet
  • Stay hydrated

When you adhere to these guidelines, you can support the grafting process. This allows for proper healing and recovery.

Signs of Infection After Dental Bone Grafts

While uncommon, you should be aware of signs of infection or other complications after a dental bone graft. These may include:

  • Persistent bad taste or breath
  • Fever
  • Painful throbbing around the graft site
  • Pus leakage
  • Bleeding when brushing

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately for evaluation. They can manage the symptoms before they become worse.

Say Goodbye to Jaw Bone Atrophy With Our Modern Bone Grafting Techniques

Dental bone grafts restore your jawbone and oral health. Knowing what to expect after getting dental bone grafting can help promote optimal healing.

Need to restore your smile? Look no further than Legacy Oral & Facial Surgery. Since 1992, our expert oral surgeons have been leveraging modern advancements for safe and successful bone grafting.

Don’t wait — schedule an appointment with us to restore your smile with confidence.