Sometimes when our teeth become damaged we need to go high-tech when it comes to repairs. Bone grafting is one such method which is popular. In this article we will talk about the procedure itself, whether or not it is normal to have a bad taste in the mouth after a bone graft, and what you can do to take care of your mouth properly following the procedure. So, what is bone grafting all about? Let’s discuss!
What exactly is bone grafting?
When a tooth becomes damaged through physical activity, gum disease, or run of the mill tooth decay then your dentist will work to repair it, most commonly these days with a dental implant. An important consideration when placing such an implant is the durability of your jawbone. In cases where the jawbone is deteriorated or otherwise not optimal then a bone graft may be performed. In the process, bone is taken from your jaw, other parts of your body, or even a third-party option in order to repair and reinforce the existing jaw structure. After a few months the replacement bone should grow into it’s transplanted location, ensuring that the required jaw integrity is in place before the placement of your dental implant.
Can a dental bone graft get infected?
Some bad taste following a bone graft is generally normal for a few days after the procedure and does not necessarily mean that the bone graft is infected. One exception, however, is a sinus infection. If a sinus infection occurs following your bone graft then you will want to check with your dentist. As the surgery is performed underneath the sinus cavity, a sinus infection CAN lead to a possible bone graft infection so you will want to check that out with your doctor right away if this is the case.
A small amount of the material is expected to fall out. Generally the site of the graft will have a white covering which, in about a week’s time, will fall out, so don’t worry if this happens. As long as you are following proper procedures as recommended by your dentist then you should have nothing to worry about.
Okay, but what are the signs of a failed dental bone graft?
Bone grafts can have issues so you will want to know the symptoms to look out for just in case the bone graft has failed. Some symptoms of a failed bone graft may include the folowing:
- Gum issues – Receding or inflamed gums after the first week in the area where you received the bone graft can be a sign that something is amiss, you will want to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get this checked out.
- Increased swelling – Some swelling after the procedure is normal, however, if it continues past the first few days then you will want to inform your dentist.
- Chewing difficulties – Some difficulty in chewing after a bone graft is normal, however, the graft is typically fully healed after a few months. If chewing is painful a few weeks after your procedure then you should check with the dentist. If it just feels a little odd when you chew, this may be normal, but if something is amiss then a quick X-ray should let your dentist know for sure.
- A loose implant -A loose implant can be a sign that the bone graft was unsuccessful. Check with your dentist immediately if you notice an implant loosening so that this may be remediated quickly.
How do I minimize the chances of issues after a bone graft?
As we have mentioned that the ‘bad taste’ is to be expected for a few days, this portion may be remediated with a good mouthwash or even by swishing with a few drops of peppermint oil in a glass of water. There are some other things that you will want to do to take care of the graft as well, such as:
- No spitting for 3-5 days – Avoid spitting for 3-5 days, as the suction from this can loosen clots and overall is not good after oral surgery. Be careful with mouthwash as well, do not swish vigorously and let the mouthwash ‘dribble out’ instead of spitting.
” Lifting up your lip can actually cause damage.”
- Don’t pull up your lip to look – You’ll be tempted to look at the surgical site but you will want to avoid this. Lifting up your lip can actually cause damage, so resist the urge unless you really want to make an emergency trip to the dentist!
- Don’t poke at the surgical spot – Resist the urge to probe the area with your tongue and especially your dirty fingers. Let the surgical wound heal naturally and keep the chances of infection down by simply leaving it alone.
- Take your medicine – Be sure to take any medications which your dentist prescribes, especially any antibiotics. Following any surgical procedure your body is going to be vulnerable for a period of time and skipping those meds will slow down your healing and open up the possibility of infection, so take what the dentist gives you!
- Avoid smoking if possible – While it’s not always possible, avoid smoking if you can. Smoking can dry up tissues and affect overall healing in general, so if you can at least tone it down or consider a nicotine patch in the meantime.
Some final words
Today we have discussed bone grafting and some common issues and best practices associate. Remember that the bad taste you are experiencing right now is normal and should be completely gone in 2 weeks. In the meantime, take advantage of a good mouthwash to help to combat the bad taste and above all, take care of your mouth by following your dentists instructions and our tips. Your graft will heal up nicely in no time!