General dentistry helps prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide range of dental issues, like tooth decay and gum disease. General dentists are the most common types of dentists, and they spend most of their time performing preventative treatments.Many patients have oral health questions for general dentists. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked…
5 Bone Grafting Aftercare Tips for a Fast Recovery
In case of severe, widespread jawbone loss, bone grafting may be the most effective way to restore your teeth. This can be a complicated procedure, but your periodontist will have the knowledge and training to perform it correctly. The recovery period can include some discomfort. However, there are ways you can manage this healing process.
How bone grafting works
Tooth loss and gum disease can cause bone loss in a person’s jaw. Not only is this painful, but it can cause other teeth to fall out. Bone loss also affects the structure and function of the person’s mouth. When there is not enough jawbone to support the teeth, the periodontist does bone grafting. The dentist may use bone from another part of the body, or a donor could give enough bone to the patient. Once the bone is implanted, new bone growth will occur, replacing the graft.
Know the recovery timeline
In any type of medical or dental surgery, patients recover at different rates. The patient’s overall health, age, and environment are factors in how fast or slow the person will be back to normal once again. Some patients can resume regular activities and feel little or no discomfort in two or three weeks. Other patients may take up to a year to feel well once more. Knowing what to expect can guide the person’s recovery so that they do not get frustrated or overwhelmed.
Surgical site care
Immediately upon returning home from the bone grafting procedure, the person should keep a gauze pad over the site for at least 30 minutes. The patient should keep an ice pack over the area for a few days or longer, as needed. This will reduce any swelling in the area. During the first few days, the person should also avoid rinsing or touching the wound site.
After the bone grafting surgery, the dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe pain medication. The patient should take this as directed — not more or less. The person may also find some relief by taking over-the-counter drugs such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol. If neither of these methods is helping, the patient should contact the dentist and see if there are other medications to take.
Avoiding vigorous exercise
Staying away from strenuous activities will help the patient recover fully after bone grafting. Patients should avoid heavy lifting, jogging, and running. Avoiding household chores for at least three days is also necessary. Some people may need to do this for a week or longer.
Patients should not drink from a straw. Doing so may only dislodge the clots forming while healing. Consuming plenty of water in the days after the bone grafting is ideal. Avoiding hot and crunchy foods can prevent irritation and pain at the surgical site. The person should eat only soft foods and chew on the opposite side of the affected area.
Tissues tend to swell after the surgery. Bone grafting is an invasive procedure. The patient should expect some swelling at the sides of the face. Inflammation can also happen around the eyes, mouth, and cheeks. This is a common reaction to any type of tissue injury and repair.
Drinking iced water can help. Applying ice packs on the affected side of the face, 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off, can reduce the swelling as well. Elevating the head for about two to three days can aid in keeping most of the blood flow to the head. Sitting in a recliner can raise the head while the patient rests.
It is common to have some oozing or bleeding in the saliva for up to three days. The patient can wipe off the clots from the mouth. The patient can then place a cold, moist gauze pad on the affected area. This type of gauze is better than using a dry piece of gauze. Dry gauze will absorb all the moisture from the surgical site. It can stimulate more bleeding.
Minimizing bleeding can also happen by sitting upright, resting, and avoiding excitement. Lifting anything that exceeds three pounds is not advisable. Forceful spitting, bending over, and smoking are not allowable as well. Calling the surgeon is necessary for bleeding issues.
Get back to your old self
With a careful approach, you can recover fully from bone grafting surgery and resume your daily tasks. Listen to your dentist and do those things that will help your wound site heal. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, your dentist can help and provide additional insight.
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