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What to do after your Bone Grafting Surgery

We have put together a list of post-operative instructions for those who have recently undergone dental bone grafting surgery or are looking to have it. In this guide, we outline what to do after surgery.

  1. Continue biting on the gauze immediately after surgery for a minimum of 30 minutes to stop the bleeding. If bleeding persists place another gauze pad and bite down for an additional 30 minutes. However try to avoid continually changing the gauze as this will disturb the surgical site and may result in more bleeding.

  2. If treatment has been completed under sedation or you have taken anti-anxiolytic medication, a responsible adult will need to drive you home and accompany you for the rest of the day until you are fully recovered from the effects of the medication.

  3. For pain relief, analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed by your dental professional. Certain medications will cause drowsiness and it is important not to drive or operate heavy machinery until fully recovered from the effects.

  4. For the first evening’s sleep, rest your head on two pillows so that your head is slightly elevated. Cover the pillow in a towel to protect from staining if bleeding occurs overnight.

  5. Use of ice packs in the first 24 hours will reduce the chance of swelling. Place ice packs on for 30 minute intervals for a few hours.

  6. After 24 hours you may gently rinse with warm salt water (1 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water). This can be done up to 5 times a day (or every 4-5 hours).

  7. After 24 hours you may gently brush the sutures/stitches with a soft toothbrush to remove plaque build-up around the wound.

  8. If you have a denture to wear, do NOT place it in your mouth until advised by your dental professional.

  9. Please ensure you have a post-operative appointment booked approximately 1-2 weeks following the surgery so your dental professional can assess the healing and remove the sutures.

What to expect?

  1. 1. Bleeding is expected to occur in various amounts over the next few days from the mouth and nose. Treat nose bleed by applying ice and direct pressure. Do not be alarmed by the presence of bone granules. Some drainage is normal from the mouth and nose; just wipe away.

  2. 2. Swelling will occur and may involve the cheeks or even the entire face. This will gradually increase over the next few days before slowly subsiding.

  3. 3. Bruising of the cheeks and face may occur. It will appear purple/blue, then turn yellow before disappearing.

  4. 4. Pain is expected and your dental professional will recommend the analgesics most suitable for you. Headaches may also be experienced. Certain medications will cause drowsiness and it is important not to drive or operate heavy machinery until fully recovered from the effects.

  5. 5. If your lip, tongue or cheek is numb, please take care not to bite it.

  6. 6. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms or believe it is excessive in the days following your appointment please call us on (08) 9226 2135.

What not to do?

  1. Do NOT blow your nose or drink through a straw for 2-4 weeks following surgery.

  2. Try to avoid sneezing 2-4 weeks following surgery. If you must, please sneeze through your mouth rather than hold it in through your nose.

  3. If you are a smoker, do NOT smoke for at least 1 week following surgery as it may increase the risk of post-operative complications and result in sinus augmentation failure. It is preferable to avoid smoking for 4 weeks.

  4. Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours.

  5. Avoid spitting (eg after mouthwash) and do not rinse or gargle for at least 24 hours.

  6. For 24 hours following surgery, do not eat or drink anything that is too hot, too cold or too hard. Maintain a very soft food diet for a week or until you can slowly re-introduce hard foods (eg. scrambled eggs, soup, and yoghurt).

  7. Avoid strenuous physical activity or bending over and lifting heavy items for at least 1 week following surgery.

  8. Avoid aeroplane travel for at least 1 week following surgery as cabin pressure changes can cause pain and swelling within the sinuses.

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