Nearly half of the world’s population has untreated oral diseases. They’re more prevalent than mental disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and cancer combined.

There are many reasons that they’re not getting treated, but a major one is fear. 36% of the population also has dental anxiety, and 12% suffer from extreme dentophobia.

Not knowing what a procedure involves makes this worse. Hearing that an infected tooth needs to come out may not surprise you. What may be a bit of a shock is if the dentist says you also need a tooth extraction bone graft.

What does that mean? How will it change the procedure? Read on to learn what to expect from a tooth extraction bone graft.

What’s a Tooth Extraction Bone Graft?

A tooth extraction is a specific type of oral surgery. It removes a tooth from your mouth due to:

  • Severe decay
  • Deep fractures
  • Advanced periodontal disease
  • Impaction
  • Breakage or chips

Bone grafting involves transplanting synthetic tissue or taking it from other parts of the body. There are three primary options for a dental bone graft.

A block bone graft uses material from the back of the jaw during wisdom teeth extraction. Socket bone grafting is done at the same time as the extraction to fill the open socket. Sinus lifts restore the upper jaw and move the sinuses.

Why Is Bone Grafting Necessary?

A dental bone graft keeps the adjacent teeth from shifting. It also prevents tissue in your jaw from breaking or dissolving.

A strong jaw is important for biting, chewing, eating, and speaking. You’ll also notice a major change in your appearance if it begins to sink or sag.

The longer you wait for a dental implant to cover the space in your mouth, the worse these issues can get. A bone graft holds your teeth in place while you wait. 

What Happens During the Procedure?

The process of getting a tooth extraction bone graft begins with the dentist providing anesthesia. It numbs your mouth and keeps you calm. They’ll then clean the area around the tooth that needs to be extracted and get the graft material.

The next step is to separate the gums from the area where the graft needs to be placed. They’ll put the material between two sections using screws or dissolvable adhesive.

The procedure ends with the dentist sewing up the incision. They’ll send you home once they’re convinced it can heal properly.

The grafted material grows into a healthy new bone. This is completed during a process known as osseointegration. Your body does it naturally, but there are ways to make sure it goes smoothly.

What Happens After the Procedure?

You may start to notice a bit of pain or swelling after the anesthesia wears off. Average bone graft recovery times differ from three to nine months.

The best way to speed the process along is to follow a proper aftercare routine. This continues from the moment you leave the office to the day you get the sutures out.

Preventing Pain

Keep the gauze in place when you leave the dentist’s office until the bleeding stops. You may need to replace it a few times in the first few hours.

Elevate your head to limit swelling and bleeding. Placing cold compresses on the side of your head reduces pain and inflammation.

Take pain medication to lessen any remaining swelling or pain. Take any prescribed antibiotics as well to prevent infections.

Oral Care

Avoid brushing the affected tooth on the first day. Go back to your normal oral care routine after that. Keep the surgery site clean by rinsing with warm salt water three to four times a day for the first week.

Eating and Drinking

Get plenty of liquids but don’t drink from straws as they can disturb the surgery site. Eat soft foods such as:

  • Applesauce
  • Milkshakes
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Pasta
  • Mashed potatoes

Exercising, Smoking, and Drinking

Limit your physical exercise. Getting too much physical exercise could increase bleeding.

Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. This promotes inflammation and bleeding and slows the bone graft healing process.

Removing the Sutures

Dissolvable sutures will fall out in a week. Non-dissolvable ones can be removed as early as a week or within three weeks. Go to your dentist to remove them if needed or if any complications develop.

What Are the Potential Side Effects?

The normal effects of a tooth extraction bone graft include:

  • Pain
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Skin discoloration
  • Bleeding
  • Difficulty speaking or chewing
  • Sore throat

Return to your dentist if these effects won’t go away despite proper aftercare and medications. They could be a sign of a more serious condition.

One of the most common complications is known as dry socket or alveolar osteitis. It’s less common than in extractions completed without bone grafts, but it can happen.

The condition begins when a blood clot in the extraction site starts to become dislodged or dissolves. It slows healing and causes discomfort. 

Signs of dry socket include:

  • Severe pain
  • Bad breath
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Hollow socket or dark blood clot at the extraction site

There are non-surgical treatments for the condition. They include cleaning or removing debris from the socket and taking medication for the pain.

You may also have to return to the dentist for another surgery. They can seal the socket, place a medicinal dressing, or even perform another bone grafting.

Who Should Perform My Tooth Extraction Bone Graft?

A tooth extraction bone graft uses material from one part of your mouth to fill up the hole left behind. This keeps the surrounding teeth in place and helps you prepare for an implant. 

You may notice pain or swelling after the procedure. Return to the dentist if these problems persist or if you develop more serious complications.

The staff at Legacy Oral and Facial Surgery are certified in all surgical procedures. We also work to make you feel comfortable during your procedure using sedation and a friendly attitude. 

Find your location and schedule an appointment today.