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What to expect after a bone graft

Following a bone graft procedure, you can expect to have an improved jawbone profile that is more receptible to either an implant or a restorative procedure.

Bone grafts are used as a filler or a scaffold to rebuild contour or available bone weakened when teeth are removed, injuries have occurred, or gum disease has caused bone loss. Bone grafts can prolong the life of teeth or implants. Most of the grafting materials will promote bone growth and eventually be replaced by the body’s own natural bone.

For your convenience, our team has outlined what the procedure involves and what to expect after a bone graft.

What is a dental bone graft?  

A dental bone graft is a surgical procedure that is used to replace or fix bone using bone formative agents. These agents can be sourced from your body, someone else’s body, a natural substitute or even be synthetic. In dentistry, a bone graft surgery is often used in preparation for implant procedures for patients who have significant bone loss of their jaws.

Types of bone grafts

Autograft

An autograft involves the use of bone tissue within your own body and surgically transplanting it into a bone deficient area. Although these types of procedures are now less common, your dentist or health professional may transplant bone tissue from your:

  • Ribs
  • Chin
  • Hips
  • Pelvis
  • Wrist

Allograft

An allograft is like an autograft except the bone tissue is harvested from donor individuals who have either donated their body to help the living or have had bone harvested as part of other surgery- for example as part of hip replacement therapy. These bone graft materials are treated in such a way that all cellular tissue is removed and are thus biologically safe.

Xenograft

A xenograft means the active agent is derived either from a bovine or porcine source. These are very commonly used and tend to be good slow resorbing materials that hold good bone bulk.

Synthetic grafts

These materials are derived from naturally occurring ceramics or bioactive glass. Synthetic grafts to date do not seem to have the same predictable results as those achieved with allografts or xenografts but show good promise as improvements are made to their composition over time.

Do all dental implant procedures require bone grafting?

In dentistry, not all dental implant procedures require a bone graft procedure. Bone grafting is only required if you do not have enough healthy, natural bones within your mouth to support an implant.

Therefore, a healthy bone structure and gum tissue will be enough to support a dental implant.

What are the risks of bone grafting

In some cases you may experience side effects when undergoing a bone graft treatment. These include:

  • Infection
  • Fracturing bones( from harvested site)
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of bone

In addition, wound dehiscence may also occur. This refers to the reopening of a wound and may be caused from the area where the bone tissue was transplanted from or within your mouth. As a result, it is essential you contact your dentist or health professional if you are experiencing this problem post-surgery.

Furthermore, all surgical procedures carry risks and the success of your procedure depends on how well your graft was placed. For your treatment to work your jawbone will have to bond with the implanted bone tissue.

In severe cases you may experience signs of dental bone graft failure. The symptoms of bone graft failure may include:

  • Pain
  • Infection in your mouth
  • Swelling

Dental bone graft aftercare

Following your bone graft procedure, you should eat soft food and avoid any hot drinks for 24 hours. In addition, rinsing your mouth out excessively after your treatment may enhance bleeding within your mouth so you should avoid this where possible. You should also avoid drinking through a straw as negative pressure may dislodge some of the grafting material.

Your dentist will also place a gauze within your mouth to stop the bleeding which should be kept in for at least 30 minutes. In addition, you may also be provided with medication to help you deal with pain or to prevent infection. These medications include dental bone graft relief – pain medication and an anti-inflammatory.

From a dentist’s perspective, you should not undertake any physical activity for the next 2 – 3 days after your treatment. For severe cases, you may be advised to avoid extreme physical activities for up to 6 months. This will ensure your bone graft has enough time to heal and settle as any excessive movements can move or disrupt the bone tissue. If this happens your bone graft may fail, and you may experience pain or be required to redo the surgery.

How long does healing take?

During the healing process it may take 3 months or more for it to properly heal, depending on how big you graft was. This also depends on how well you take care of your oral health. We advise you brush and floss twice a daily or after eating food to maintain your oral hygiene.

Research suggests that smoking can prevent the bone from healing and may lead to bone graft failure. If you are a smoker it is important that you limit your smoking after your surgery. You should consult with your dentist or health professional so they can provide you with an effective aftercare plan.

Bone Grafting on the Gold Coast

At Dental Implants and Aesthetics, we offer bone graft treatments for all of our patients here on the Gold Coast.

If you are considering undergoing a bone graft, contact our friendly staff today to see Dr Franck Page. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online, 24/7.

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