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Post Operative Instructions After A Bone Graft

As with all oral surgical procedures, the success or failure of a given procedure depends largely on whether or not the post operative instructions have been kept by the patient. Oral surgery, just like any medical procedure, is a two way street. Responsibility is shared between caregiver and patient, so the success of a treatment is dependant, in reality, on both the doctor (in this case oral surgeon) and the patient. It is not enough for the doctor to know what he is doing if the patient disregards the doctors demands. This is why post operative instructions need to be followed to the letter. Your dentist or oral surgeon may not have had the time to explain why and how each instruction should be followed, so I am, with this article, to clear up any sort of confusion as to what to do, eat, and what not to do or consume.  


There are three things that can be prescribed by the doctor after a bone graft has been done. The first is of course antibiotics, which help you in fighting any and all infections that may occur. Remember, the mouth is a place with very active bacterial life, and an open wound in the mouth is more than likely to become infected. This is why it is necessary to take antibiotics after oral surgery. Please take the entire course of antibiotics, as that is how they are meant to be taken, and if the last few pills are not taken, you may breed antibiotic resistant bacteria in your mouth, which is not a good idea.
The second is an anti-inflammatory, such as Ibuprofen. This is necessary because your gums will swell up after the bone graft. Remember, they are now holding foreign materials that were not there before, and they may be swollen and sensitive for quite a while. To help them be less irritated and sensitive, it is a good idea to take something that will reduce the swelling.
The third you will be given will be pain medication. This should be taken at the patients own discretion, whenever pain is felt. Some people are opposed to taking pain medication, and taking them is not mandatory, but your face will hurt for the very least 48 hours after surgery is finished and the anaesthetic wears off. So it is a good idea to take the painkillers, but it is not mandatory, as with the other two medications. 



For 72 hours after surgery, having a little bit of stray bleeding or pinkish saliva is totally normal, and should not be worrisome at all. Do not rinse the mouth out for 72 hours, as the blood needs to clot, this is a great help in the healing process, and the bloodclot that forms in the mouth will help in keeping the wound and the bone graft material sterile, so no sucking motions, no picking at it with the tongue, no removing or rinsing out the bloodclot. If there is active bleeding for the site after 72 hours, or the bleeding becomes more intense in the period after surgery, call your doctor immediately, this is a sign of something gone seriously wrong. If your doctor cannot see you, go to another one as soon as possible. 


Do not eat anything until the anaesthetic has completely worn off. Once you have regained feeling in your mouth, you can eat soft foods only until the surgical site is healed over completely. Avoid chewing on the side where the surgical site is, chew on the opposite side until all swelling is gone and the site is completely healed over. Sticky foods or foods with hard edges or pointy bits should be avoided, as these can dislodge stitches, poke and hurt the surgical site and even cause leakage of the bone replacement material. Do not eat anything too hot or cold or too spicy either as this may increase the pain, and cause inflammation of the surgical site, which can be extremely painful. Remember, you have an open wound in your mouth! You should refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol for at least one week after surgery,a s these activities dry out the mucus membranes of the mouth, which may cause bacterial infections. Drink more fluid during the time that you are healing, and make sure you get the proper amount of nutrients and proteins, as this will help you in healing faster and more efficiently.

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