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Bone Graft for Dental Implant: When and How Do You Need it Done?

July 26, 2022

Bone Graft for Dental Implant

Restorative dentistry is the practice of replacing missing or damaged teeth. Many times, these procedures are easy- but some patients require bone grafts before they are able to get a dental implant or undergo other restorative dental procedures. This is typically required if the jawbone is too weak for the dental implant to be placed.

No matter what area of your body it is, a bone graft is a serious procedure. It may sound scary and painful, but it doesn’t have to be and it’s worth it in the long run. In this article, we’ll discuss bone grafts for dental implants- the procedure itself, other types of dental bone grafts, potential complications, recovery, and more.

What is a Dental Bone Graft?

A dental bone graft is used in conjunction with restorative dentistry procedures to add some bulk to the jawbone before the placement of dental implants. If you’ve had significant trauma to your jawbone, serious gum disease, or an extended period of time without teeth, your jawbone may have deteriorated to the point that it needs to be restored before implants.

After all, without stimulation from tooth roots, your jawbone may lose some of its density- which is where a bone graft can help. This procedure involves taking bone from another area in your body or even another body and adding it to your jawbone to build it up.

3 Types of Materials for Dental Bone Grafts

When it comes to dental bone grafts, there are many types of materials that are used. In general, they can be divided into 3 categories:

Allograft
This is bone that has been harvested from a cadaver or from a human donor for medical procedures.

Autograph
This is bone that has been taken from elsewhere in the patient’s body.

Alloplastic
This material is made of calcium carbonate or hydroxyapatite, which are both naturally occurring minerals.

There are some other materials that are used in dental bone grafts, such as synthetic materials and bone tissues taken from animals. One of the factors that go into determining the cost of the procedure is the materials that are used.

Bone Graft Surgery

In addition to the materials used, bone grafts are classified according to major or minor surgery. Dental bone grafts are typically highly invasive and labeled as major surgery depending on the severity of the bone loss or gum disease. The condition of your jawbone will determine the type you will need. In most cases, dental bone graft surgery takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Tooth Extraction Bone Graft

In some cases, patients require tooth extraction bone graft prior to placement of dental implants. This is especially true if you have untreated gum disease that has affected your natural teeth to the point that you require extraction and dental implants. Of course, it’s important to understand that not all patients require bone graft surgery prior to getting dental implants.

Still, bone grafts for dental implants are common- but your dental professional may recommend bone grafting to treat the periodontal disease that has gone down to the jawbone.

Other Types of Dental Graft Procedures

There are three other types of dental graft procedures:

Socket Graft

If the surrounding bone is weak and at risk for decay after tooth extraction, you may require a bone graft. This is known as a socket graft. This is because, following extraction, the body will absorb the bone unless it’s replaced with an implant or a bone graft. This graft is made with natural bone and is added to the space that is left after the tooth is removed. It usually takes about 6 months to heal before implant placement.

Block Bone Graft

A block bone graft is a type of bone graft following tooth extraction that is required if a socket graft isn’t immediately done. Other causes of severe bone loss requiring a block bone graft include serious gum disease, trauma, and injury. In this procedure, a small piece of bone tissue is taken from another area of the jawbone and secured to the area with screws. It takes several months to heal from this procedure and once healed, you will be ready for your dental implants.

Sinus Lift & Bone Graft

A sinus lift is dental procedure that is sometimes used in conjunction with a bone graft for dental implants. If you don’t have enough bone in your upper jaw, dental implants may interfere with your sinus cavity. In this procedure, the oral surgeon will lift the sinus cavity prior to placing the bone graft below. After about four months, dental implants can be placed without the risk of damaging the sinuses.

Average Cost for Dental Bone Graft

The cost of a single dental bone graft may range from around $2000 to $3,500, depending on the materials used. This does not include the cost of dental implants and does not factor in insurance coverage. Below are the average costs for each type of material:

Complications Associated with Dental Bone Grafts

When you visit the dentist for your consultation prior to your bone graft, it’s important to make sure you understand the potential complications, which include:

Rejection

In this case, your body rejects the donor grafts, pushing it out instead of allowing it to fuse with the existing bone because it sees it as a foreign body or a threat.

Infection

There is a high risk of infection if the procedure is done in an environment that is contaminated or if the patient does not follow appropriate aftercare as instructed by the dental professional.

Recovery after Dental Bone Graft

Typically, dental bone grafting is an outpatient procedure, which means you will not be required to stay in the hospital. The dentist will do the surgery in the office, and you will be sent home to recover. However, you will need to allow yourself significant time to recover.

After all, you’re adding another piece of bone to your jaw and allowing it to fuse with your existing bone- so it makes sense that it would take a while.

Conclusion

Bone graft is a procedure that is used in conjunction with restorative dental procedures to bulk up the jawbone- especially prior to dental implants. The process involves taking bone from elsewhere in the patient’s body, a cadaver, a cow, or synthetic material, and placing it in the jawbone to fuse with the existing bone. There are several types of bone grafts, each with its own purpose and recovery time. It typically takes about 6 months to fully recover and depends on the severity of the procedure.

You may experience bleeding and swelling, but your dental professional will provide you with aftercare instructions to help encourage healing and reduce your risk of infection. Of course, all surgical procedures include the risk of complications, including infection and risk of rejection.

The average cost of a dental bone graft is between $200 to $3,000- depending on several factors, including the type of material you use. This could change based on insurance coverage.

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