What Is The Recovery Time After A Bone Graft?

By: Dr. Patrick V. Nicosia


If you need a dental implant but you've had to put off the surgery, you may have been told you need a bone graft to strengthen your jaw first. A weakened jawbone can also occur because of physical trauma. While the process may sound intimidating, Dr. Patrick V. Nicosia is here to guide you through the process at Patrick V. Nicosia D.D.S., M.S., Inc. in Houston, TX.

Keep reading to find out what kind of recovery time you can expect after a bone graft.

Why do I need a jawbone graft?

We don't think about our jawbones very often and assume they remain the same throughout our lives. But if accidents occur or we lose teeth, our jaws become weakened and threaten the rest of our oral health.

A bone graft allows you to:

  • Restore the strength of your jaw
  • Preserve your remaining teeth
  • Provide a sturdy foundation for dental implants and dental restorations like crowns and bridges
  • Reduce your risk of further oral health issues
  • Restore the structure of your face (which can sag prematurely in places where your jawbone is weak)

What does bone graft surgery involve?

Dr. Nicosia offers multiple treatment options depending on your unique oral health needs, and uses state-of-the-art techniques and tools to ensure safe, effective, and predictable results. Rest assured that dental jawbone grafting is a common procedure for those who have had a missing tooth for many years.

First, you will have a consultation to decide on your treatment plan. Your jaw restoration surgery will make use of one of the following:

  • An autograft, which uses bone tissue from another place in your body (usually your hip)
  • An allograft, which uses bone harvested from another person
  • A xenograft, which takes bone from an animal
  • An alloplasty, which uses a synthetic bone

When the bone graft is ready, Dr. Nicosia will numb the areas where he'll operate so you don't feel pain during the procedure. He'll make an incision through the gum tissue to reach the jawbone, attach your graft, and use proteins and collagen to encourage the graft to attach and grow. Your gums are then closed with sutures, and the area is cleaned.

How long does it take to recover from bone graft surgery?

The grafted bone takes time to fuse with the existing bone and create a strong foundation for a dental implant or other tooth replacement option. The surgery is typically done using local anesthesia, and recovery time will vary depending on the size and location of the bone graft as well as your overall health.

In general, recovery time after a bone graft can take several months since the grafted bone has to fully fuse with the existing bone. The grafted area may be sore and swollen in the first few weeks after surgery. However, pain and swelling can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and applying cold compresses to your face.

Dr. Nicosia will provide personalized instructions on how to care for the grafted area, including when to start brushing and flossing again and when to return for follow-up appointments.

After the bone has healed, it will be strong enough to support a dental implant or other tooth replacement option. The implant placement or other tooth replacement procedure can usually be done anywhere from 4 – 6 months after your bone graft surgery.

Get bone grafting in Houston, TX

Don't put off dental surgery because you've been told you'll need a bone graft first. At Patrick V. Nicosia D.D.S., M.S., Inc., Dr. Patrick V. Nicosia performs this surgery frequently and can walk you through the process and what to expect during your recovery to ensure you feel confident.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicosia at his Houston, TX office today to get more information about bone graft surgery.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.