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Oral Surgery/Neck stiffness and pain post bone bone graft


I had what I thought may be an infected tooth a few weeks ago. It was a broken tooth that I have needed to repair for some time and it had been gradually increasing in hot/cold sensitivity and pain. I went to my dentist and he prescribed an antibiotic and suggested an extraction, bone graft, and implant. He said that the tooth had considerable decay and was not likely to be salvageable. The antibiotic took most of the pain away and 2 weeks later I had the extraction and bone graft. It has been 10 days now. The pain is mostly gone, definitely bearable with Motrin, but I have had some sinus pressure and sore swollen glands. Then 2 days ago I began developing a neck stiffness and pain that won't subside completely even with the Motrin. I have also been losing small and a few larger pieces of the graft. I don't have a fever or anything, but the neck pain concerns me. I can't think of anything I could have done to cause it. Should I be worried?

Sarah - It is, of course, a little difficult for me to tell you what is actually going on, but pain is a bad sign.  First of all, the dentist who extracted an infected tooth and placed a bone graft at the same time is totally wrong.  What he has done is bad and can definitely produce the symptoms you describe.  No graft should ever be inserted in an infected area.  

Without examining you I cannot be sure, but it sounds like the graft in an infected area might be the cause of your problem.  I don't know what instructions you were given, besides the antibiotic, but you should be rinsing with warm salt water a few times a day for a minute or son to hopefully produce drainage of the infection.  If the graft is infected, it may also start causing the graft to be rejected.

So what should you do.  If your dentist has no answers, have yourself examined by a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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