What is a Bone Graft?
Dental implants replace missing teeth and restore jaw functionality. But, if your tooth has been missing for a while, your jawbone may have begun to deteriorate. Without sufficient bone mass, dental implants could fail or come loose. A bone graft is a straightforward surgical procedure that restores bone tissue, allowing the jawbone to support the dental implant.
“Is a Bone Graft Right for Me?”
If you’re interested in getting a dental implant, the first step in the process is to come into our Sarasota dental implant clinic for a consultation. During this initial exam, our specialist will examine your oral health and take an x-ray image of your jawbone to determine if your bone is sufficient enough to support the implant. If it looks like your jawbone may not support the implant, we may recommend a bone graft as a possible solution.
There are several kinds of bone grafting materials available. These materials are safe to use and clinically proven to assist in the regrowth of bone tissue. The material acts as a kind of scaffolding onto which your natural bone tissue grows, eventually replacing the donor material altogether.
An autograft is one of the most common types of bone grafting procedures. This bone graft uses bone material from your own body. Unlike the other types of bone grafts, autografts involve the use of two surgical sites instead of one: one from which the bone material is taken, and one onto which the material is grafted.
An allograft uses donor bone tissue from a tissue bank. This material is taken from a cadaver and processed in a lab.
This graft is similar to an allograft, except it uses bone tissue taken from an animal.
The only type of bone graft that uses synthetic (man-made) material as the donor material.
The Bone Grafting Process
Before beginning your procedure, your doctor will first need to determine if you are a good candidate for a dental bone graft. During your initial consultation, your doctor will examine your tooth and gum health and take an x-ray image of your jawbone. If they conclude that your bone can benefit from a graft, we will schedule your operation.
The first thing your doctor will do is apply a local anesthetic to the area of your mouth that will receive the graft. The anesthetic numbs your gum tissue, so you won’t feel a thing during the procedure. Once the tissue is numbed, the doctor will make a small incision in your gums, allowing access to the jawbone. Once they’ve cleaned and disinfected the area, they will apply the bone grafting material. Lastly, the gum tissue is closed over the area and closed with stitches.
While the operation itself is relatively painless, you may experience some swelling or discomfort as the anesthetic wears off. These side effects are completely normal, and shouldn’t last for more than a couple of days. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or antibiotics to help you manage any pain. If you notice small pieces of bone coming out of the incision site over the ensuing days, don’t be alarmed. Losing a few pieces of donor material is expected. You can always contact our office with any questions or concerns.
Contact us today
to schedule an initial consultation & exam.
Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dental bone grafts boast a high rate of success, but failure is always a possibility. Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Discomfort worsens after the first week
- Discharge from the operation site
- Gum recession
While the surgical site shouldn’t take more than a week or two to heal, it may take anywhere from three to nine months before the bone graft has established sufficient bone mass. Your age, dental health, and the type of graft are all factors that can affect the recovery time.
During your bone grafting procedure, the doctor will apply a local anesthetic which will numb the area completely, so you’ll feel virtually no discomfort during the operation. As the anesthetic wears off, you may experience some minimal pain and swelling. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to help manage this discomfort. You should feel little to no discomfort after about a week. If pain or swelling increases after a week, contact your doctor.
Typically, bone grafts do not require sedation. A local anesthetic is enough to eliminate discomfort during the procedure. However, sedation could be an option for patients with severe dental anxiety. Options often include nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation. Please speak with your doctor to discuss these options and found out if sedation is right for you.