Bone Grafts

dental patient smiling after bone graft

Bone grafts are surgical dental procedures used to build up the bone in areas where bone loss has occurred. During a bone graft, bone material from a laboratory or the patient’s own body is placed in areas that have undergone bone loss. Bone loss occurs when one or more teeth is lost and the jawbone does not receive the necessary stimulation to maintain bone mass in that area. As bone is absorbed back into the body in a process called bone resorption, the teeth can become loose and the facial structure will change. To prevent this from happening, dental implants are often used to preserve bone mass. However, since dental implants require a certain amount of bone in order to be successful, a bone graft can be performed in patients with low bone mass. 

Did You Know?

sinus lift

When a bone graft is performed on the upper arch it is commonly referred to as a sinus lift. This is because building up the bone in the upper jaw helps to lift the sinus cavity to prevent it from becoming damaged when dental implants are placed. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need a bone graft?

model showing bone loss in the lower jaw

You will need a bone graft if you are having dental implants placed but do not have adequate bone mass to support the implants. If your teeth have been missing for six months or longer, then you may need a bone graft. The longer your teeth have been missing, the more likely it is that a bone graft will be needed. Additionally, bone grafting may also be required in cases where severe periodontitis has resulted in bone loss. 

What happens during a bone graft?

model showing a bone graft on the lower jaw

A bone graft is a minor dental surgery, so you will be anesthetized and sedated during the procedure. Your dentist will make a small incision in the gums to access the jawbone and then place the bone material in the designated area. In some cases, bone grafts may be performed immediately after an extraction or while placing dental implants. 

How long does it take a bone graft to heal?

After having a bone graft, you will likely experience some swelling and discomfort for a few days after the procedure. While the incision site will heal within a few weeks, the bone takes longer to heal. This is because it takes approximately 3-6 months for bone material to grow into hardened bone. If dental implants were placed at the same time as the bone graft, then they will also need to fuse with the surrounding bone. While your bone graft heals, your dentist will provide you will guidelines to follow. 

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