Bone Grafting

If you are considering dental implants or have lost one or more teeth, bone grafting treatment may be necessary. Bone grafts are often needed if your jawbone is not healthy enough to support dental implants or is deteriorating due to missing teeth.

Bone Grafting Explained:

There are several reasons you may need dental bone grafting, but the most common is the desire for dental implants to replace missing teeth. Bone grafting builds up any areas of the jawbone that have thinned or deteriorated. After bone grafts have healed, the jawbone and ridge are thicker and more robust, able to support dental implants and maintain the contours of your face.

Bone graft material can be harvested from your own jaw or we can also use synthetic bone material or bone obtained from a bone bank, obtained from a cadaver.

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Bone grafting repairs the jawbone area that does not have enough structure to support the implants due to teeth extractions, injuries, or gum disease. Once the bone grafts are placed, we may use a special membrane to protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is referred to as regenerative bone grafting and requires using your living bone to encourage new growth. In some situations, donor bone from a bone bank or cadaver is used. This is not living bone and does not cause new bone growth. Instead, it provides a structural “scaffolding” to hold dental implants in place.

What Happens During a Bone Grafting Procedure?

Your surgeon makes an incision into the gums, exposing the area where the bone graft is needed. The bone graft material is surgically implanted and may be covered with a membrane to hold it in place until the bone graft is healed. The area is then closed with stitches.

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Recovery from bone grafting surgery usually takes several weeks. The graft material fuses with the existing jawbone and provides a stable foundation for additional dental work. If a living bone graft is used, your jawbone will continue to grow and strengthen, reversing some damage.

After the surgery, some pain, bruising, and swelling will a week to ten days. These are managed with pain medications and ice packs. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection.

Some patients notice tiny flecks similar to sand or salt emerging from the bone graft site. These are small bone fragments that are sometimes shed after bone grafting and are not usually the sign of a problem. However, please call our office if you experience a lot of bone shedding or are concerned.

Different Types of Bone Grafting Treatments:

  • Ridge Augmentation

Ridge augmentation reverses bone loss due to teeth that have been missing for months or years. Before dental implant placement, this is a common procedure to strengthen the jawbone, adding width and height to a thinning jaw ridge.

  • Socket Preservation

Socket preservation prevents reabsorption of the jawbone when a tooth socket is empty after the loss or extraction of the tooth. We may recommend socket preservation if you need a tooth removed but are not yet ready for implants or dental reconstruction. It helps prevent the empty socket from growing larger and destabilizing the jawbone.

  • Sinus Lift

A sinus lift is a bone graft to reinforce the wall of bone between the upper jaw and the sinus passage. It is sometimes needed if you want dental implants in the upper jaw, but there is not enough bone for the implants to hold securely without protruding into the sinus cavity.

What are the Benefits of Bone Grafting?

Dental bone grafting increases the likelihood that you can get successful dental implants and other dental reconstruction procedures. The bone grafting restores the jawbone to a healthy state and provides a stable foundation for replacement teeth. A bone graft can also encourage healthy, new bone to grow and integrate with the graft material. Grafting can build up the area if your jawbone is too thin or small for implants.

Some dental procedures that may benefit from bone grafting include:

  • Tooth extractions – Bone grafting preserves the tooth socket and prevents jawbone deterioration.
  • Gum disease – Bone grafting can repair areas where periodontitis or gingivitis have led to jawbone deterioration.
  • Dentures or bridges – Wearing dentures or bridges does not stimulate the jawbone, causing it to thin. Over time, dentures become loose as your jawbone wears away.
  • Enlarged sinuses – If you are missing your upper molars, the upper jawbone may reabsorb, leading to enlarged sinuses. A sinus lift can restore your sinuses to their normal size and strengthen the jawbone.

At Konikoff Hoag & San Dental Implants & Periodontics, we routinely perform dental bone grafting backed by years of experience and the latest bone grafting technology. Please contact our office to learn more about how dental bone grafting can enhance your dental health journey.

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