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Glendale, AZ 85308-8370

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Arrowhead Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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Healing After Bone Grafting: What You Should Know

Posted on 10/20/2016 by Dr. Michael Allard
A dentist creating a bone graft.
A bone graft is a surgical procedure that places bone, or a bone substitute, into the empty spaces around a broken bone or the part that needed to be removed. It often uses healthy bone from another part of your body. In some instances, you may require the use of bone from a donor.

If the surgeon deems it best, you may be given a synthetic material that acts as a bone. Healing from a bone graft procedure requires healing, and there are some things you should keep in mind.

Pain is Normal
After your anesthesia wears off, it is normal to experience pain. The pain can usually be handled with over the counter medications, although your surgeon may prescribe you a stronger dose as a precautionary measure. Depending on the type of bone graft, you may also be prescribed antibiotics to fight infection, and this medication should be taken as directed and completely finished.


Swelling is also normal following a surgical procedure. During the first twenty-four hours, ice can be applied to help reduce it. After the second or third day, moist heat can help alleviate swelling as well.

Limit Activity
It is very important to limit your activity for at least the first day. Rest during the first day after you get home. Sit or lie down, keeping your head elevated. Don't attempt any exercise or strenuous activities for at least the first two days or as recommended by your surgeon.

A nutritious, well balanced diet is crucial to healing properly. But you should make sure, for at least the first two days, that you eat only liquid or soft foods, including soups, yogurts and smoothies. Avoid foods that are too hot or too cold. Also make sure to drink plenty of water.

Oral Hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean is important to healing, as it helps to prevent food particles from getting stuck and bacteria from growing. You may be prescribed an antibiotic mouthwash to use. A salt water solution can also help prevent infections and has the added benefit of reducing swelling. Brush teeth gently and be sure to avoid the surgical site. It is also advised, if you are a smoker, to stop smoking, as it can slow the healing process.

When to Call
You should call your oral surgeon if you experience any of the following:

•  Persistent bleeding that won't stop.
•  Uncontrollable pain.
•  Swelling that won't go away.
•  An allergic reaction to your prescription.

As long as you follow your oral surgeon's post operative instructions, and get plenty of rest and nutrition, you should have no issues while healing from your bone graft and you will be able to return to your normal activities in no time!

Please contact us if you have any questions about healing after bone graft.
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