Bone Grafting for Implants

Dental implants are a popular solution for replacing lost teeth but require a strong jawbone foundation. When jawbone loss has occurred, a dental bone graft is often necessary before implant placement. A dental bone graft is a surgical procedure that adds bone to the jaw. Grafting may be necessary if there is insufficient bone to support a dental implant. Bone grafts can be performed using bone from the patient’s body or a donor.

Will I Need a Bone Graft? With Dr. Brown

What Is a Dental Bone Graft?

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that adds density and volume to the jawbone in areas where the bone may be naturally thinner or where bone loss has occurred. Bone grafts are often used to prepare the jaw for dental implants.

There are three main types of bone grafts:

  • Autogenous bone graft: The bone grafting material can be taken from another site in your body, known as an autogenous graft. The advantage of having this type of graft is that your body will readily accept it, and it should integrate well with your jawbone, but it does mean an additional procedure to harvest the bone from a suitable site.
  • Allograft or Xenograft bone graft: Alternatively, bone can be sourced from a donor, human (allograft) or animal (xenograft). It is quite usual to use donor bone, and there is no need to worry as the bone is treated and sterilized extensively to ensure it is completely safe for use.
  • Alloplast: Another alternative is to have a synthetic bone graft material, and this type of graft is called an alloplast. Synthetic bone grafting materials are extremely sophisticated and can often contain growth mediums to encourage your bone to deposit new bone cells onto the graft.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment is a treatment that uses platelets from your own blood to promote healing. PRP can be used in conjunction with bone grafting to help the bone graft heal faster and promote better tissue regeneration.

How bone grafting works

During a bone grafting procedure, your surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue and expose the jawbone. The surgeon will then place the bone graft material in the area where bone needs to be added. The bone graft will provide a scaffold for your own bone cells to grow onto.

Once the bone graft is in place, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures. The bone graft will need to heal for several months before dental implants can be placed.

bone grafting for dental implants

Why Would I Need a Bone Graft?

Bone grafting can improve the success rate of dental implants and implant supported dentures. It can also help to restore the appearance of your face and improve your ability to eat and speak.

The most common reasons for bone grafting:

  • Periodontal disease: If you lose teeth to periodontal disease, a bacterial infection that destroys gum tissue and jawbone.
  • Trauma: Trauma to the jaw that has resulted in jawbone loss. Bone grafting can be used to replace the lost bone and restore function and appearance.
  • Thin jawbone: Sometimes bone grafting is needed to build up bone in areas where it is naturally thinner, for example, around your sinus cavities, creating a strong foundation for implants
  • Dental implants: Bone grafting is often necessary to prepare the jawbone for dental implants, especially in areas where the bone is thin or damaged.
  • Dentures: Bone grafting can be used to rebuild the jawbone and create a better retention and fit for dentures.

You may need a bone graft to replace your upper back teeth with dental implants, as these would be close to the sinus cavities. Bone grafts aren’t just used to prepare the jawbone for dental implants, as they can also be useful for people who intend to get dentures and need their jawbone rebuilding so the dentures have better retention. A dental bone graft can also be performed before placing front teeth implants.

common reasons for bone grafting

How Will I Know If I Need a Bone Graft?

Why is bone grafting necessary for dental implants? Dental implants must be surrounded by a specific amount of strong and healthy bone in order to be successful. If you do not have enough bone, or if your bone is not strong enough, your implant dentist may recommend a bone graft.

When you visit Riverside Oral Surgery Center, our implant dentist carefully assesses the quality and quantity of jawbone available for implant placement. They evaluate your jawbone by taking a cone beam CT scan, a digital dental x-ray that produces detailed 3-D images of your jawbone and all other important structures like nerves and blood vessels.

We use these images to quantify the amount of available bone and identify the best positions for dental implants to be situated.

Is It Usual to Need a Bone Graft?

Yes, bone grafting is frequently required for dental implant surgery, and this process is extremely common. It is usually done by a general dentist or a specialist dentist like an oral surgeon or periodontist.

What Are the Different Types of Bone Grafts?

types of bone grafts

The types of bone grafts available include the following.

Socket Preservation

Socket preservation can be carried out at the same time as tooth extraction and helps preserve the shape of the socket. The procedure is also sometimes called ridge preservation.

How is socket preservation performed? During socket preservation, your dentist will extract the failing tooth before immediately filling the socket with bone grafting material. The procedure helps prevent the empty socket from caving inward and prepares it for implant placement.

Sometimes the implant is placed at the same time, so you can have a tooth removed, bone grafting material inserted, and the implant placed during a single procedure. Other times, socket preservation is carried out after tooth extraction and is left to heal before the implant is placed later.

Sinus Lift

Your sinus cavities are just above your upper back teeth and are air-filled spaces. Sometimes the bone here is naturally thinner and less suitable for implants. Other times the sinus cavities can drop down, filling the space formerly occupied by tooth roots. A sinus lift helps ensure plenty of bone is available for the Titanium or Zirconia dental implants to be inserted without penetrating the sinus membrane.

How is sinus lift performed? During this procedure, your periodontist makes a small incision in the gums to expose the jawbone underneath before cutting a small hole into the jawbone, exposing the sinus membrane. They can then lift the membrane upward, creating a new space that can then be filled with suitable bone grafting materials.

The procedure ensures the sinus cavities are properly positioned and creates a solid foundation for implant placement.

Ridge Augmentation

When teeth have been missing for some time, jawbone loss can be substantial. Old bone cells are no longer renewed without the stimulation provided by tooth roots. As a result, the bony ridge that originally supported the teeth gradually becomes thinner and narrower than before.

Ridge augmentation increases the volume and width of the jawbone, ensuring there is enough bone to support the dental implants successfully. This procedure is often performed after a tooth extraction, but it can also be done to treat other conditions, such as gum disease or congenital disabilities. It may also be used in preparation for dentures as a larger ridge provides better retention for a traditional denture that rests solely on the gums.

Ridge augmentation can be a complex procedure. Visit Riverside Oral Surgery in New Jersey if you are looking for an effective way to restore the bone and shape of the jaw.

Periodontal Bone Graft

A periodontal bone graft helps stabilize loose teeth. Advanced periodontal disease can erode the bone around teeth, called alveolar bone, so eventually, they become loose. Placing a bone graft around these teeth helps to support them, reducing mobility and preventing tooth loss.

Each type of bone graft has its own advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist at Riverside Oral Surgery will recommend the best type of bone graft for your individual needs.

What to Expect If You Need a Dental Bone Graft?

Before surgery:

  • Your oral surgeon can assess if you need a bone graft for dental implants or another reason.
  • If you need a bone graft, identify the area where the bone is missing and create a personalized treatment plan.
  • They will then discuss this plan with you in detail so you know what to expect.

During surgery:

  • Your oral surgeon will thoroughly numb the area using a local anesthetic. If you feel anxious or nervous, ask about sedation dentistry to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.
  • Your implant dentist makes a small incision into your gum to expose the jawbone.
  • They can then add bone grafting material to build up deficient areas.
  • Often the bone graft is covered with a membrane that provides additional protection and prevents the gum tissue from growing into the bone graft.
  • Once complete, the gum is stitched over the grafting material, and the bone graft is left to heal.

After surgery:
Feeling minor discomfort, swelling, and possibly bruising after a bone graft is normal, but these side effects should disappear within a few days.

Your oral surgeon will give you precise instructions on caring for the incision site and, if necessary, can prescribe antibiotics and pain relief.

Sometimes, small fragments of bone emerge from the grafting site during the first few days and look like grains of sand. If this occurs, it’s not usually a problem, but you can always contact your periodontist for further advice and help.

Is a Bone Graft Painful?

The actual bone graft should not feel painful, thanks to the local anesthetic. Afterward, many people with a bone graft report minimal or zero pain, but you should follow your implant dentist’s instructions closely and take all prescribed medications.

Is It Possible for a Bone Graft to Fail?

Dental bone grafting has an extremely high success rate, especially when performed by a dental specialist like a oral surgeon. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is a small chance of failure. This is more likely among people who smoke and do not quit during treatment or who have medical conditions that impair healing.

Signs that a bone graft may be failing include:

  • Swelling or pain that worsens after the first week
  • Buildup of pus around the bone grafting site
  • Gums have begun to recede and pull away from teeth

Contact your local dental office or Riverside Oral Surgery if you are ever concerned about your bone graft. They can put your mind at ease or provide immediate care and treatment.

Are There Any Risks in Having a Bone Graft?

The risks are very low. Before you have a bone graft, your dentist will evaluate your suitability closely, reviewing your dental and medical history to ensure nothing could contraindicate this treatment. However, some small risks include infection, nerve damage, bleeding, or complications due to the anesthetic.

How Long Will It Take Me to Recover from a Bone Graft?

  • Initial recovery: You will probably feel fully recovered after a week or two, but it can take longer for the dental bone graft to heal completely.
  • Typical healing time: 3-9 months, depending on the extent of the bone graft required and the area in which it was placed.
  • Return to work and everyday activities: Generally, you should be able to return to work and everyday activities a day or two after the procedure. However, if you opt for additional sedation, you might want to take another day or two to recover at home.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Patients Just Like you

Dr. Auerbach and the staff at Riverside Oral Surgery are extremely nice and professional. They really make you feel very comfortable and cared for. I was there recently for two extractions and bone grafts and they thoroughly explained what to expect during and after the procedures. As a mom of a special needs child, it is greatly appreciated when I can go and be relaxed while having my teeth taken care of. Bonus perk - while listening to music, with my eyes closed and the light on my face, I can almost pretend to be sitting in the sun on a beach!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Patients Just Like you

I cannot say enough about Dr. Auerbach and the staff at Riverside Oral Surgery! Dr. Auerbach did an awesome job extracting four of my son's wisdom teeth. His patient care and concern really touch my heart. He made himself available to answer my questions and it was obvious that he cares about his patients and their families. The ladies at the front desk, along with the nursing staff that I encountered were knowledgeable, gracious, and kind! Furthermore, the place is immaculate and stylish! I highly recommend Dr. Auerbach and Riverside Oral Surgery. God bless all of you!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Patients Just Like you

I had a wonderful experience at Riverside Oral Surgery. Everyone is very nice and professional. Dr. Rosenstock was great, highly recommend

If you have any questions about the bone graft for dental implants or to make an appointment with bone graft specialists at Riverside Oral Surgery, call our center at (551) 287-2322 or visit any of our New Jersey locations.