What is a Bone Graft?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure where your dentist adds bone tissue to your jaw bone to strengthen it. Bone grafting can positively impact the health and stability of the teeth, and is a preferable alternative to having missing teeth, diseased teeth, or tooth deformities.
Bone grafting also supports the natural growth of bone tissues. The graft material will eventually be replaced completely as the natural bone grows, creating a fully integrated new bone region.
Bone graft procedures are often closely associated with the placement of dental restorations such as dental bridges and dental implants.
Reasons for a Bone Graft
Bone grafting stabilizes and helps restore the jaw foundation for restorative or implant surgery. Deformities can also be corrected and the restructuring of the bone can provide added support. It can also be used to limit or prevent bone recession following a tooth extraction, periodontal disease, or other invasive processes.
Types of Bone Grafts
There are several types of bone grafts. Our dentists will help determine the best type for your particular condition.
- Autogenous Bone Graft
Harvested from the patient’s own body (usually from the posterior part of the lower jaw or the chin), this method is usually preferred because it produces the most predictable results.
- Allograft Bone Graft
Cadaver or synthetic bone is used in this type of graft.
Cow bone is used in this type of graft. Pig bone should also be suitable and successful.
The Bone Grafting Procedure
The bone grafting procedure can often take several months to complete. Bone is typically harvested from your own body (or on rare occasions obtained from a “bone bank”) and added to the affected site. This bone will fuse with the existing bone and the migration of cells will cause firm adhesion and cell growth. Supplementing the jaw with bone will result in greater bone mass to help support and anchor the implant(s).
During the procedure, your dentist will numb the grafting and extraction sites using a local anesthetic. A small incision will be made to prepare the site for the new bone and it will be anchored into place. On occasion, a synthetic membrane may be used to cover the new bone. This membrane prevents soft tissue and bacterial invasions and encourages new bone growth.
The surgery should not require an overnight stay, and you will be provided with instructions for your post-operative care. You may be prescribed medications to help manage infection, discomfort and swelling.