Preprosthetic surgery

Soft tissue surgery


Short term: minor discomfort for a day or two;

Medium and long term: none.

Ridge reduction / hyperplasia removal

Short term: discomfort and often a pulling sensation where dissolving stitches are sited;

Medium term: other than slow to dissolve stitches and mild lumpiness, nothing;

Long term: nothing.


Short term: discomfort amounting to pain, particularly while the stent is in place. Pain at donor site of mucosal or skin graft. Generally, an uncomfortable and unpleasant time;

Medium term: once the stent has been removed, only minor discomfort. Donor sites have healed after 14 days;

Long term: over months the sulcus depth tends to relapse to some extent, so discomfort with prostheses is not unusual even after a successful operation.

Hard tissue surgery

Alveoloplasty, ridge reduction and removal of tori

These all follow a similar path.

Short term: the reduction or removal of bone always causes some pain and making sure adequate pain relief is available is important in the first few days;

Medium term: over the next 10 to 14 days the discomfort gradually settles down. Stitches dissolve or are rubbed away (which usually gets rid of them a bit more quickly, the most commonly used resorbable sutures are actually designed to last up to three weeks when buried inside the body).

Ridge augmentation

This is dependent on whether or not synthetic bone substitutes are used. If they are, the postoperative process is similar to that described above.

If a bone graft is harvested it will depend on the donor site.


Short term: localised pain, swelling and discomfort. Drains are not used for the donor sites in the bottom jaw;

Medium term: healing is usually progressive over a period of 7 to 10 days unless the site becomes infected;

Long term: a palpable defect in the chin may be noticed.


Short term: localised pain but swelling is not noticed. A drain is normal and sometimes an infusion of local anaesthetic;

Medium term: a mild limp is possible if a large amount of bone is harvested. This is minimised by not stripping the large outer muscles of the buttock during the operation and using tubes called trephines to collect the bone;

Long term: the limp rarely lasts, except when very large segments of bone are used – unlike when a bone flap such as the deep circumflex iliac artery flap is raised, where the postoperative problems can be considerable.


Short term: as with the hip;

Medium term: the smaller amount of bone that can be harvested from the head of the tibia means a limp is much less of a problem. Comfortable walking within a week is normal;

Long term: this donor site usually has no long-term problems, with the scar being almost invisible.

Distraction osteogenesis

Infrequently used so generic advice is not particularly helpful

Orthognathic surgery

Sinus lift

Short term: blocked nose or bleeding from the nose is not unusual despite the intention not to breach the antral lining. It should be very minor and settle overnight. Pain and discomfort at the operation site is mild;

Medium term: the usual issues with dissolving stitches, occasionally a small piece of graft material will work through the incision line. Things have usually settled down in three weeks;

Long term: very few problems are noticed even though the nasal airway and the size of the maxillary antrum have been altered.

Dental implants

These tend to follow a very regimented and specific to manufacturer sequence of events so it is best to ask which sequence will apply to you from your clinician.