How Long Does It Take to Recover from Dental Bone Graft Surgery?

After you have had dental bone graft surgery, there are some instructions that need to be carefully followed in order to help ensure success. Any kind of surgery requires that special instructions be given, and dental bone graft recovery is not any different. Following these tips will enable faster bone graft healing and enable you to be ready for a dental implant. 

The Surgery

When you go to the periodontists‘ office for bone graft surgery, you can expect that it will take between 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half. The agreed-upon bone or synthetic bone graft will be used. If you agreed that your own bone should be used, there will be a second surgery site from which it will be taken – your chin or hip. 

Bone Graft Recovery Time

There are different types of bone grafts but the recovery methods will be very similar. The initial bone graft recovery time will last about two weeks. During that time, all noticeable symptoms will have disappeared – the pain and swelling will usually disappear after two or three days. The wound site will not be healed yet and special care needs to be given to ensure that it does heal correctly and without complications. 

Dental Bone Graft Complications

There are some dental bone graft complications that we have to face:-


The pain you feel after a dental bone graft should not be any more than you would normally feel after an extraction. There will be more pain for the first couple of days, and the periodontist will give you a prescription for pain medication. After that, you should be able to control the pain with over-the-counter pain medications.


As with any surgery, you may expect some bleeding to occur. This will normally be limited to the first 12 to 24 hours. You will be given some gauze pads to cover the site to help stop bleeding. If it continues, replace it with a new one until saturated. You may also place a tea bag on the site after you moisten it. This should aid in clotting and stopping the bleeding.


You can expect there to be some swelling on your gums and cheek. The best way to reduce the swelling, which will also help to reduce any pain, is to put ice on your cheek where the swelling is occurring. Be sure to only place the ice pack on for 20 minutes and then off for 20 minutes to help protect your skin from freezing. 

The Diet

You will need to be especially careful to only eat what is prescribed for you. It will vary depending on the extent of the bone graft. Basically, you will want to avoid any foods you need to chew. You will want to start out with cold liquids, such as smoothies, juices, and milkshakes. You will need to avoid hot foods and drinks for a couple of days. After that, you will likely be allowed to eat cold or room temperature soft foods such as pudding, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal.

Be sure to avoid using a straw because the sucking action can dislodge the clot. Also, avoid any foods that may have particles or seeds in them that may lodge in the wound site. 

The Plug

In some cases, the surgeon may place a collagen plug over the site – usually in an extraction. This will be stitched in place, but it will fall out after a week or two. It is put there to aid in healing. About a week or two later, the stitches will dissolve. 

Oral Hygiene

You want to make sure to keep your teeth clean during the healing process. You will be given a special non-alcoholic mouthwash to help reduce plaque. You will use it two or three times a day. Brush your teeth as prescribed by the surgeon but be extra careful not to disturb the surgery site. 


Avoid or reduce physical activity for two or three days. Stay away from activities that require bending, lifting, or running. After two or three days, you can resume your normal activities. 

Miscellaneous Tips

Do not smoke. This will reduce the oxygen in your gums and will slow healing. It may actually cause the bone graft to fail. The sucking action may also loosen the clot. 

You may have a sore throat for a couple of days, and this may mean some pain when swallowing. Your jaws may also be a little stiff for a couple of days, too, which is normal for oral surgery

Do not wear dentures or flippers unless you are given permission from the surgeon. This may interfere with the healing of the wound site. Be sure to talk to the surgeon about when it may be safe to use them.