Have you lost a tooth? Are you considering a dental implant and wondering if you need a bone graft? You might feel a little intimidated by the thought of this procedure, but in reality dental bone grafting is a routine, comfortable, and predictable way to get your dental health on track.

We’re here to answer all your questions and help you feel confident in your next steps.

What is a bone graft?

A bone graft repairs and rebuilds bone through the transplantation of bone tissue, creating a strong and stable foundation to replace a missing tooth. Although bone grafting is a highly specialized procedure, it has been a staple of implant dentistry for over 40 years.

When is a bone graft required?

Anyone who has lost a tooth might need a bone graft before it is possible to place a dental implant. Here’s why:

  • A dental implant procedure requires a sufficient amount of healthy natural bone in your mouth. This bone needs to be strong and capable of supporting the implant.
  • When you have a missing tooth, it’s very common to experience bone loss in the jaw, a process known as resorption. The result is weak and insufficient bone to support an implant.
  • By transplanting healthy bone tissue, we can recreate bone and supporting tissues that are missing, creating a solid foundation for your implant.

People often wonder how long it takes for your jawbone to resorb after losing a tooth. The truth is, even if you just lost your tooth a few days ago, you may already be suffering from bone loss due to other factors! 

Additionally, a missing tooth and upcoming implant procedure is not the only reason to get a bone graft. If you are suffering from gum disease, a bone graft procedure may be necessary to prevent tooth loss and other concerns.

Does everyone need to get a bone graft before a dental implant procedure?

No. Whether or not you need a bone graft will depend on the health of your jaw bone. If you have enough healthy, natural bone, you may not need a bone graft before getting an implant.

What causes dental bone loss?

Your jawbone’s main function is to act as a foundation that supports your teeth. When you lose a tooth or are congenitally missing a tooth, the bone will slowly start to disintegrate because it is no longer “needed.”

The deficiency of natural bone in your jaw may be caused by:

  • Development defects
  • Gum disease
  • Face injury or trauma
  • Empty space after teeth were removed

The benefits of a bone graft

Without a stable foundation for your teeth, you risk various complications. For example, if you’re considering an implant, a bone graft will reduce your risk of complications or failure. The restoration of bone mass can also help you avoid developing other types of dental problems or disease, including gum disease and continued tooth loss.

Missing teeth and bone that has atrophied can also cause problems like:

  • Inability to speak normally
  • Difficulty eating
  • Lowered self-confidence

Where does the bone come from for a bone graft?

Here at our office, we use cadaver vs synthetic bone for your graft. Cadaver bone is usually decellularized cow or pig bone. Synthetic or artificial bone is created from ceramics, such as calcium phosphates and/or calcium sulphates, which are strong enough to sustain the characteristics of bone.

What to expect from a bone graft treatment

We offer guided bone regeneration (GBR) to protect your smile and ensure implant success. If you’re feeling nervous, please don’t worry. We’re here to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure and offer comprehensive sedation options, including IV sedation.

We’ll let you know exactly what to expect in light of your specific situation, but depending on the health and structure of your bone, GBR can be completed in one visit, and you can expect to spend at least one hour in our office.

After your procedure, we’ll wait for the bone augmentation process to finish, which takes anywhere from 3-9 months. Although it can take many months for your bone to fully integrate after a GBR procedure, our periodontists can often place an implant at the same time that a GBR procedure is performed. This varies case by case and depends on the density and the health of your bone at the time of the procedure

Additionally, if your final restoration is a denture, we can coordinate with your referring dentist or our lab to deliver the prosthesis the same day of the procedure.

After the procedure has been completed, you’ll be given antibiotics to prevent infection and keep you comfortable. We’ll be sure to check in on you regularly to make sure you’re doing well!

Is a bone graft right for you?

Now that you’ve learned all about bone grafting, are you ready to take the next steps and find out if a bone graft is right for you? We invite you to schedule a consultation with us today. We’ll evaluate your situation and the health of your jaw bone. If we do recommend GBR, we’ll make sure you know exactly what to expect. 

Contact us today with questions or to schedule.