Missing teeth over a period of time can cause your jaw bone to atrophy, or resorb. This often results in poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants as well as long term shifting of remaining teeth and changes to facial structure. Most patients, in these situations, are not candidates for dental implants.
Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow bone where it is needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, but it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee). Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum to protect the bone graft, as well as encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration, or guided tissue regeneration.
what happens After bone grafting?
BLEEDING AND SUTURES
It’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood.
After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the bone graft site for 48 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the bone graft site. Follow up appointments will be scheduled to check on the healing process and for stitch removal.
MEDICATIONS AND COLD COMPRESS
You may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Do not place the ice pack on more than 20 minutes at a time. If given, take pain medications as prescribed. If no pain medication was prescribed, you may take non-aspirin mild pain medication such as Advil or Tylenol to maintain comfort. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.
HYDRATION AND DIET
Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the bone grafting. Examples of soft foods are: yogurt, soups, steamed soft vegetable, boiled hamburger, soft cooked fish, tofu, whipped potatoes, and cottage cheese. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable but do not chew over the bone graft site until after stitches are removed by your dentist.
BRUSHING AND FLOSSING
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
CALL THE DENTIST
After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, stitches become loose or falls out, or a reaction to the prescribed medication, call our office at 828-256-3400.