Dental Bone Graft Healing Timeline

Hey there! Dr. Timothy Johnston here, and today I want to give you some post-op instructions for dental implants and bone grafting with membranes. If you’ve recently undergone these procedures, it’s crucial to know how to care for the site properly to ensure a smooth healing process.

Dental Bone Graft Healing Timeline
Dental Bone Graft Healing Timeline

Swelling and Bruising – What to Expect

First things first, don’t be alarmed if you experience some swelling. It’s completely normal, especially after oral surgery. But don’t worry, there are ways to minimize it. When you leave the office, continue biting on the gauze provided for about two hours, changing it every 15 to 20 minutes. Applying ice to the area for 10 minutes on and 5 minutes off will also help reduce swelling. Just remember, this is similar to treating a sports injury, so keep it cold for about two hours.

Furthermore, bruising might occur, particularly under the eye if you had upper implants or under the neck for lower implants. Age and the use of anticoagulants increase the likelihood of bruising. If you’re taking blood-thinning medications like warfarin, aspirin, Coumadin, or Xarelto, expect some bruising. It’s nothing to be concerned about, though, as it’s a result of the necessary gum incision made during the procedure. So, be prepared for a little swelling and perhaps some bruising initially.

Healing Instructions – Give It Time

Now let’s talk about the healing process. The key here is to let it heal. Yes, that means leaving the site alone as much as possible. Here are a few important instructions to follow:

Avoid Smoking

If you’re a smoker, now is the time to quit, at least temporarily. Smoking hampers the healing process by reducing the oxygen supply to the site. So, if you want optimal results, try to avoid smoking during the first few days or even weeks after the procedure.

Gentle Brushing

Brush your teeth as you normally would, but be cautious around the implant site for the first week or so. This is to avoid disturbing the stitches and reopening the gums. Take extra care while brushing to ensure a smooth recovery.

Soft Diet

You can start eating right away, but it’s best to stick to a soft diet for the first two weeks. Consider incorporating foods like fish, pasta, eggs, or even enjoy breakfast for dinner. You don’t have to limit yourself to mashed potatoes, but keeping it easy on your mouth will facilitate healing. If you wear dentures, try to leave them out for the full two weeks. If you need to wear them temporarily, be careful not to bite into anything hard, limiting your food choices to items like bananas or hot dogs in terms of stiffness.


You were likely prescribed two medications. The first is an antibiotic, which is crucial to prevent any potential infections. Take the antibiotics as directed. The second medication is for pain control. Instead of prescribing strong narcotics, we now recommend a combination of over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and ibuprofen. Follow these instructions carefully, taking two Extra Strength Tylenols and three Advils together every five or six hours. It’s a safe and effective way to manage any discomfort or pain during the healing process.

Special Care for the Membrane

If a membrane was placed over the bone graft or implants, it requires special attention. The membrane serves two purposes: keeping the bone particles in place and preventing bacteria from accumulating under the gums. To neutralize the effects of the membrane, prepare a mixture of one cup of water, one cup of hydrogen peroxide, and one teaspoon of salt. Swish this mixture around your mouth for one minute, twice a day, to ensure bacteria are kept at bay. This step is essential for maintaining the integrity of the membrane and preventing complications.

Stitch Removal

The stitches, made of a material similar to the membrane, will not dissolve on their own. We will remove them when we take out the membrane. The removal process is quick and painless, as the stitches are slippery and easily slid out with suture scissors. As for the membrane removal, it’s a simple process that won’t cause any pain. It’s just like removing a wet band-aid, so nothing to worry about.

Stay in Touch

If you have any questions, concerns, or feel like something isn’t quite right, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We’re here to help and ensure that your healing process is going smoothly. Your oral health is our top priority!

Thanks for tuning in, and remember to take good care of your dental health. For more informative content, visit Make You Smile!

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