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Alveolar Bone Graft: Post-Surgical Care

Post-operative care is crucial to proper healing. Please follow these guidelines as closely as possible, as it will minimize unnecessary pain and complications such as infection and swelling. We encourage you to call our office if you have any questions or if you need assistance.

Going Home

After the surgery, and for the weeks afterward at home, your child will only be allowed to drink liquids or semi-liquids from a cup. No utensils or straws should be used until your child’s surgeon says it is OK. Your child should not eat anything HARD or CRUNCHY for 6 weeks. AVOID chips, nuts, crackers, popcorn, cookies, and raw vegetables.

  • Within the first 24 hours after the surgery, while your child is still in the hospital, he or she will be allowed to drink clear liquids from a syringe with a rubber catheter or a cup.
  • Your child will stay in the hospital until he or she is drinking well and urinating normally.
  • When your child is drinking well, the IV will be removed by a nurse before you leave the hospital.
  • Some children will need to stay for more than 1 day if they are not drinking and urinating normally, or if their parents need extra time to learn how to care for them.
  • Your child may be given Tylenol® with codeine prescription medication for pain relief when he or she leaves the hospital. Over-the-counter Motrin®can be alternated with the Tylenol®with codeine every 3 hours, if your child is still having pain. DO NOT give your child any over-the­ counter Tylenol while he or she is still on Tylenol with codeine.
  • Your child may be given an antibiotic to take for the first couple of weeks after surgery. Be sure to take as directed.
  • Your child’s follow up appointment is already made with our office and is attached with this packet.


At-Home Care

A complete list of instructions for taking care of your child at home will be given to you before you leave the hospital. The main things to remember are:

If you notice any of the following changes in your child, call the surgeon right away:

  • Fever higher than 101.4°F
  • Trouble breathing or skin color changes (pale, blue or gray)
  • Bleeding or foul-smelling drainage from the scar
  • Signs of dehydration, including lack of energy, sunken eyes, dry mouth, or not urinating enough/fewer wet diapers
  • Any redness, swelling.


Your child can drink any kind of liquid once he or she gets home. Please use the red rubber catheter and syringe that was given to you at your pre-operative appointment. Your child may also eat any kind of food that can be watered down and poured from a cup or bottle, including yogurt, pudding, milkshakes, or anything that you can grind in a blender to be as smooth as baby food. Remember, though – no utensils or straws! They will need to stick to the clear liquid diet for 1 week. You will follow up in office after 1 week, your doctor will clear you to start eating soft, non-chew foods if the surgical site is healing well.

A nurse will give you a special mouth rinse called Peridex®. This is to be used three times a day. DO NOT SPIT, just let the mouthwash run out of your mouth. In addition to the mouthwash you may use a warm salt water solution at all other meals and snacks. Salt water solution recipe: Mix 1/2 teaspoon table salt into 8 ounces of warm water

After drinking any milk products, have your child drink clear water to wash out the mouth and prevent the buildup of milk along the incision.

Your child will not be allowed to take a sponge bath for the first week. Showering will be permitted in the second week of recovery after the first follow up appointment. NO soaking in the bathtub and NO swimming for at least 6 weeks

When your child’s mouth has fully healed, usually about 6 weeks after surgery, he or she will be ready to resume orthodontic treatment to prepare for his or her permanent teeth to come in. Once the canine teeth have come in, the orthodontist can put on braces to guide the teeth into their proper position.

Your child’s doctor will tell you when your child may resume any physical activity or contact sports.


It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have any questions or concerns about your progress please call the office (251)471-3381.

Thank you for trusting us with your Cleft and Craniofacial needs.