Dental Bone Graft Procedure

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About Bone Graft

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A bone graft or bone augmentation may be required for patients who have a soft or thin jaw bone and are having dental implants.

Jaw bone loss is quite common, and can happen for many reasons, including tooth extraction, gum disease or tumors. In a bone graft procedure, the bone is built up again using either artificial bone substitute material, bone from a donor, or bone removed from elsewhere in the patient’s body.

It is often required by patients who are getting dental implants, and is more likely needed if the patient has been without teeth for a long time, and the jawbone has shrunk due to resorption.

Recommended for

  • Patients who need dental implants

Before the Grafting Procedure

In cases which need more material owing to more extensive bone recession, an appointment may be needed to source the graft material (this can be done from elsewhere in the mouth, or from donor sites such as the hip bone). Otherwise, the bone sourcing and grafting can be done in the same appointment.

In some cases, the bone graft will be performed at the same time as a tooth extraction, which can prevent bone resorption from occurring.

During the Bone Graft Procedure

There are different types of bone grafts which can be used and the most common types are autogenous grafts, allograft grafts, and xenograft grafts. An autogenous graft (autograft) is bone that is taken from another area of the patient’s body such as the chin or hip. As the bone is taken from the patient’s body, it contains live cells which promote growth and bone formation, which is why it is considered a very successful method and is the most used technique. An allograft is usually taken from a cadaver and combined with synthetic material. It can also promote growth and bone formation. A xenograft uses bone from animals such bovine or porcine bone.

The type of bone graft used should be discussed with the dentist before the surgery in order to determine the best option for the patient. Once this has been established, the procedure will go ahead with the agreed type of bone graft. If having an autogenous graft, then the bone will need to be removed from another area of the body first, before proceeding.

At the tooth extract site, the bone graft material is added to the area and left to heal. For more recessed jawbones, material is added and then a tarp is placed over the site to prevent infection and give the area time to heal. Alternatively, solid bone material is fixed to the area (eg. with screws) and the fixing material is removed at a later appointment.

Materials

A range of materials are suitable for this procedure. In some cases, the patient’s own bone tissue is used, or else tissue from a donor. It is also possible to use entirely synthetic products for this procedure.

Anesthesia

Local anesthetic.

Procedure duration

The Bone Graft takes 1 to 3 hours.

The bone graft procedure may take several hours, depending on the method used and the extent of bone loss. The dentist may also ask that the patient return after a few days to check the gum is healing and to remove stitches.

After Bone Graft Surgery

Post procedure care

The gums will be stitched up and patients should keep the surgery site clean and only eat certain foods (avoid very hot or cold foods, or foods that may get stuck in the wound). The new bone may be left for several months to integrate, although some dentists will add a bone graft and implants together.

Possible discomfort

Bone graft patients can expect to experience tenderness and soreness in the area, to a similar degree as tooth extraction patients.

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