Post-Operative Instructions Bone Grafting

Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. Be as gentle as you can around the bone grafting area.


Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. You can control excessive bleeding (where your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) by biting on a slightly moistened gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30–45 minutes. In general, use as little pressure as is needed. Change the gauze pad as needed. If excessive bleeding continues, please call for further instructions. Remove gauze when it is no longer needed.


Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack (or a plastic bag or towel filled with ice) on the cheek in the area of surgery. Apply the ice off and on, as much as possible, for the first 24–36 hours. Swelling generally reaches a peak by the third post-operative day and then gradually subsides.


Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or food. Soft food and liquids should be consumed on the day of surgery. Keep all solid food away from the surgical site.


Discomfort is normal after the bone grafting. You should begin taking pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off. If you are not allergic or intolerant to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, start taking ibuprofen (also known as Advil® or Motrin®) as instructed by your surgeon at the time of your surgery. If you are asthmatic, do not take ibuprofen unless you have tolerated it in the past. If your pain is not controlled by the ibuprofen alone, take your prescribed narcotic as instructed. Ibuprofen and your prescribed narcotic can be taken together. Be certain to take your pain medicines with food; this will help prevent nausea. Remember, narcotic pain medicine will impair your judgment and reflexes, and you cannot drive or operate machinery while taking it.


Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing. Warm saltwater rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 3–4 times a day, especially after meals. If you are given a prescription for PerioGard® Oral Rinse, use as instructed twice per day. Do not brush the 2 adjacent teeth on either side of the graft site for the first 7 days. After 7 days, you may gently brush the tooth surfaces of the adjacent teeth, as long as the bristles don’t disturb the graft site. You may floss normally, starting the day of surgery, if comfortable.


Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are exercising, throbbing, or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. You can gradually increase your activity level after 3 days unless instructed by your surgeon. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.

Wearing your Prosthesis

Partial dentures, flippers, or full dentures should not be used immediately after surgery. You may wear these prostheses as soon as it is comfortable, but only if the prosthesis doesn’t touch the graft site.