If you have missing teeth along with diminished jaw bone density, it is unlikely that you can proceed directly to dental implants. Dental implants require a certain amount of jaw bone to be successful. Fortunately, there is a procedure called bone grafting that can qualify you for implant dentistry.
Bone grafting can involve taking a section of bone from another part of your body. However, most patients receive a special bone grafting material that is used to build up the area of jaw bone that is lacking. If you have been told you need this additional oral surgery before getting your implants, it is understandable to have questions, especially in terms of recovery and healing.
How Long Is Recovery After a Bone Graft?
Recovery time from bone grafting is based on the severity of the bone loss, size of the graft and location of the graft. It is typically best to get a bone graft as quickly as possible after your extraction if you plan on getting a dental implant. This speeds up the process of getting your implant but also prevents additional bone loss from occurring while the tooth is missing.
On average, the recovery time for a bone graft can range from 2 weeks to 3 months. Keep in mind that while the recovery process is complete for you, your graft will continue to heal beneath your gums for several weeks afterwards.
How Should I Plan for My Recovery?
You will be given specific post-operative instructions for the first few days after your bone grafting procedure. These may include taking a prescribed antibiotic and pain medication, as well as using ice packs to minimize swelling. You will also be educated on what is normal and what is cause for alarm.
To ensure your graft site is not disturbed and continues to heal properly, you may be told to avoid intense exercise for a period of time after your oral surgery. It is also critical that you keep the grafting area as clean and dry as possible to foster optimal healing. Most importantly, avoid smoking or using tobacco products during recovery. This not only slows down healing, but can also lead to complications that would further delay dental implants.
Got more questions about what to expect during or after bone grafting? Call Dr. Wayne Suway today.