Following tooth extraction, the site typically takes 5-7 days to start healing, but needs 3-4 weeks to reach completion. However, this may take longer, like 6 months to a year, if the jaw was damaged during tooth removal, or if a bone graft procedure was performed.
The actual time it takes to heal depends on several factors, including the size and location of the graft, the patient’s overall health and medical history, and the type of bone graft material used.
In some cases, dentists combine dental bone grafts with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which is taken from a sample of your own blood, and used to speed up healing and tissue regeneration.
That said, even when PRP is not involved, there are other ways that dentists use to speed up healing for dental bone grafts that range from adequate cleaning and sanitizing during the procedure to proper aftercare during the recovery period.
Dentists may combine dental bone grafts with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to enhance the healing process and promote faster recovery. PRP is a concentration of platelets and growth factors derived from the patient’s own blood, which can be used to stimulate bone growth and improve tissue regeneration.
The process involves drawing a small amount of blood from the patient, which is then processed to isolate the platelet-rich plasma. The PRP is then mixed with the bone graft material and applied to the surgical site. This process can be done in the dental office, and typically does not require any additional recovery time.
Here are some ways in which PRP can be beneficial when combined with dental bone grafting:
- Enhanced Bone Growth: PRP contains growth factors that can stimulate the growth of new bone tissue, which can help accelerate the healing process and improve the success rate of the bone graft.
- Reduced Risk of Infection: PRP contains antibacterial properties that can help reduce the risk of infection at the surgical site, which can be a common complication of bone grafting procedures.
- Improved Wound Healing: PRP can also improve wound healing by promoting the formation of blood vessels and the regeneration of soft tissue, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation at the surgical site.
- Reduced Pain and Discomfort: By promoting faster healing and reducing the risk of complications, PRP can help reduce the amount of pain and discomfort that patients experience after a bone grafting procedure.
While the use of PRP in dental bone grafting is still being studied, early research has shown promising results in terms of improved healing and reduced complications. However, as with any medical procedure, patients should discuss the risks and benefits of PRP with their dentist or oral surgeon to determine if it is the right treatment option for them.
10 ways to speed up bone graft healing
If you’re considering tooth extraction and bone grafting in a single procedure, then the socket will be cleaned and debrided right after tooth removal.
The dentist will then irrigate the socket with a medicine in order to create a bacteriostatic environment to hasten the healing process.
Afterwards, an antibiotic and material for bone grafting is placed into the socket to facilitate rapid and complete bone regeneration, and to reduce post-operative discomfort.
Once the procedure is complete, your oral surgeon or dentist will recommend an aftercare plan to help facilitate healing.
Your recovery plan after bone grafting typically includes:
1. Follow Post-Operative Instructions
Following post-operative instructions provided by the dentist or oral surgeon, such as brushing technique, taking prescribed medications and avoiding certain foods or activities, can help promote healing and prevent complications.
2. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Keeping the surgical site clean and free of bacteria can help prevent infection and promote healing. Infection can delay the healing process and may require additional treatment.
- Brushing and flossing your teeth gently around the wound
- Using Chlorhexidine mouthwash or saltwater rinse multiple times a day
- Avoiding an electric toothbrush or water floss during the initial healing stage
- Scraping the tongue daily to reduce bacteria in the mouth
3. Eat a Nutritious Diet
Your consumption will be restricted initially after the surgical procedure, but you should maintain a healthy diet that is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals to help support the body’s healing process. This includes:
- Protein-rich foods: Protein is essential for the body to produce new tissue and to repair damaged tissues. Foods rich in protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the body to produce collagen, which is essential for the healing of wounds. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, kiwis, berries, mangoes, papayas, broccoli, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), egg yolks, and fortified dairy products.
- Calcium-rich foods: Calcium is essential for bone growth and healing. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, soybeans, almonds, and fortified cereals.
- Iron-rich foods: Iron is essential for the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Foods rich in iron include lean meats, seafood, beans, spinach, and fortified cereals.
- Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with the body’s healing process, so it is best to avoid them during the initial healing stage.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help keep the body hydrated and promote healing.
Make sure to only consume soft and cold foods initially, like milkshakes, yogurt, and pudding that are comfortable on the wound until bleeding stops.
It is important to avoid hot, hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that may damage the surgical site, such as popcorn, nuts, chips, and hard candies. Also avoid using straws as the suction can dislodge the bone graft.
4. Avoid Smoking
Smoking or using tobacco products can interfere with the healing process by reducing blood flow to the surgical site and inhibiting the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the area. Quitting smoking or avoiding tobacco products can help improve blood flow to the surgical site and promote healing.
5. Manage Chronic Medical Conditions
Certain chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, can affect the body’s ability to heal properly. So it’s important that you get the condition under control before bone grafting so it doesn’t hinder your recovery.
Certain medications, such as blood thinners or steroids, can affect the healing process. It’s important that you discuss with your oral surgeon or dentist about any medication you’re currently taking before any surgical procedure, as it can influence the success of your bone grafting. You may need to use alternative therapies until the site heals. Take antibiotics as prescribed to prevent infection
7. Use Cold Therapy
Applying ice or a cold compress to the surgical site can help manage pain, reduce swelling, and promote healing.
After dental bone graft surgery, it is important to avoid strenuous exercise or physical activity for the first few days to allow for proper healing. However, after the initial healing stage, light exercises like walking and yoga can actually help promote healing by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the surgical site. When resting or sleeping, keep your head elevated.
9. Consider PRP or BMP
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) can be used to promote bone growth and accelerate the healing process.
10. Don’t wear removable prostheses
If you wear dentures or other prostheses, it’s best to avoid wearing them during the initial healing stages as this could cause the breakdown of sutures. If they must be used, try not to touch the healing site.
It is important to discuss any concerns or questions about and extraction and bone graft healing process with your dentist or oral surgeon. By following post-operative instructions and taking steps to promote healing, patients can help ensure a smooth and successful recovery from a bone graft procedure.