Bone grafting might sound like a new procedure, but the technique has actually existed for over a hundred years. Today, bone grafting has many useful medical applications, including the dental bone graft. Who needs a dental bone graft? If you have jawbone issues, you might be a candidate for dental bone grafting. The procedure may sound scary, but it’s actually a great way to get your dental health on track. The more you learn about what to expect, the less nervous you’ll feel.
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about a dental bone graft. If you’re curious about this procedure, read on for more!
What Is a Dental Bone Graft?
A dental bone graft is actually a relatively minor procedure. Your dentist will make an incision to expose the bone of your jaw, then graft new bone material to it. Your bone creates new bone cells around the grafted material, building up bone right where you need it.Bone is actually a more malleable material than you might think. You make new bone cells and get rid of old ones on a regular basis. These changes are usually a good thing. But sometimes, you can end up without enough bone in your jaw, which might mean you need a bone graft.
Types of bone grafts
There are a few different varieties of dental bone graft let’s take a look at which ones you might need to get.
Block Bone Graft
In this type of bone graft, your dentist will use bone from the back of your jawbone, near your wisdom teeth. This is a good option if you have serious bone loss that needs to be addressed.
A socket graft is the type of graft you can get at the same time as you get a tooth extracted. This prevents bone loss usually associated with adult tooth loss.
Your body won’t be able to reabsorb the bone near where the tooth was, because of the socket graft. This keeps your jaw ready for the dental implants you’ll get to replace the missing tooth.
This bone graft is useful if you’ve lost some of the molars on your upper row of teeth. Part of the sinus may actually start to reach downward, filling in the gap left by the teeth. A sinus lift restores the sinus to normal, while repairing the gap with a bone graft instead.
Do I Need a Dental Bone Graft?
If you’ve lost an adult tooth, or had gum disease, there’s a chance you’ll need a dental bone graft. When you don’t have one of your adult teeth anymore, the bone around your teeth starts to disappear. Gum disease can also cause the jaw bone to recede.The bone loss from just one tooth might not be noticeable. But if you lose multiple teeth, or have advanced gum disease, your bone loss can actually affect the way your face looks. You may start to have sagging facial features because there’s not enough bone left to support them. Bone grafting helps restore your appearance. It also ensures that any tooth replacements you get will stay in place.
How do I prepare for dental bone grafting?
Talk with your doctor about how to prepare for your bone graft surgery. Ask whether you should stop taking any medicines ahead of time, like blood thinners. If you are a smoker, try to stop smoking before your procedure to help speed healing. Tell your dentist about all the medicines you take, including any over-the-counter medicines like aspirin. Also, tell your dentist about any changes in your overall health, like a recent fever.Before your procedure, you may need additional imaging tests, like X-rays, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
What happens during dental bone grafting?
If it’s associated with a dental implant, you’ll start by having the old tooth taken out. Then, the bone graft will be done so you’re ready for implant surgery. After the graft, there will be a stable base for the new tooth.Most of the time, bone grafts are done with bone from your own body. It might come from the back of the jawbone, or from another body part.However, human and even animal donors can also be a good source of bone graft material. This bone gets sanitized so it’s totally safe to use. Some people prefer this option, because it means they won’t need a second surgical incision to get the bone.Once the bone graft is done, you’ll probably need to wait for a matter of months before you can have your implant added. It takes time for your bone to develop new bone around the graft, so the implant will stay in place.
Bone graft surgery usually takes less than two hours. You’ll get it done in your dentist’s office, and then you’ll need to go through a brief healing process.
What to expect after a dental bone graft?
The bone graft healing process is straightforward. Your dental bone graft procedure is usually performed with a local anesthetic. Because a small incision is made in the gum to place the graft, your gums may be sore after surgery. Generally, patients can manage this with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and ice to reduce swelling. In the months following the dental bone graft, the new bone will merge with existing bone.If you have received a bone graft in preparation for a dental implant, your dentist will make sure the bone graft heals completely before placing the implant abutment in the jaw. Once this heals, a mold of your mouth is taken, dental implants are custom-made, and the dental implant can be placed.
Are there dental bone graft complications?
Bone grafting is a common dental procedure that is considered safe and holds a low level of risk for complications. There are, however, some risks that every patient should be aware of, including:
• Blood clot
• Complications from anesthesia (if used)
If bone is donated from a deceased person or cadaver, there is a very rare chance of infection from the donated bone.In some patients, the bone graft doesn’t “take.” This can be related to the reason for your bone graft, but is also affected by risk factors in each patient. Patients who smoke or have diabetes, for example, are at increased risk for dental bone graft complications. Other risk factors for bone graft failure include age, other medical conditions, and whether you are using your own or donated bone. It is important to disclose all medical conditions and discuss your concerns with your dentist before your procedure.
How Can I Keep Swelling Down?
A dental bone graft surgery is sure to cause your face to swell up. In the days immediately following the surgery, take some steps to try to keep the swelling down. The best way to do so is by icing the area of the face and mouth that the surgery took place in regular intervals for the first two days following surgery. Icing the area helps to stop the influx of blood flowing into the gum tissues. By minimizing the bleeding, you are helping the body heal properly.
What Can I Eat After Dental Bone Graft Surgery?
In the days immediately following your dental bone graft surgery you will need to make drastic changes to your diet. The exact nature of your diet will depend on the extent of the surgical procedure, so it can be different for each individual case. Some patients may be restricted to a diet of only cold liquids for the first few days following the surgery. This can mean a plethora of juices, cold soups, smoothies, and milkshakes. Others can be restricted to room temperature soft foods, such as mashed potatoes, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pureed fruit, or pudding. Basically, the object is to avoid any foods that require chewing.One distinction that will apply to everyone who undergoes a dental bone graft surgery is to avoid eating crunchy, sharp, or hard foods for several weeks after the procedure. This is to make sure nothing gets lodged in the graft site.
How Should I Sleep After Surgery?
After the surgery, patients are advised to only sleep on their back, propped up on pillows to keep the head elevated. This is to prevent blood from pooling at the bone graft site and to keep inflammation down. If sleeping on your back is an impossibility, at least avoid sleeping on the side of your body that the surgery occurred.
What Are My Activity Restrictions?
In the first couple of days after surgery, avoid any strenuous activity to avoid disturbing the surgery site and disrupting the healing process. Over time, you will begin to feel more comfortable and can slowly return to your previous activity levels.
How to care for a dental bone graft
Caring for a dental bone graft is similar to the way you would care for many types of oral surgery sites. After the bone graft, you may experience soreness that can be treated with ibuprofen and an ice pack. You may notice some swelling or bruising at the surgical site. This is normal and not generally a cause for concern.Your dentist will give you specific instructions on aftercare, but in general, here are some guidelines to care for a dental bone graft:
• Stick with a diet of soft foods: Pasta, yogurt, and cooked vegetables are all good options
• Avoid spicy, salty, or extremely hot food: These can irritate the surgical site
• Stay away from hard or sticky foods: These can damage stitches and cause pain
• Avoid chewing on the surgical site: This also protects the stitches
However, always follow the specific guidelines from your dentist for optimal healing.
Bone Graft Healing Process
You’ll probably feel some pain after the bone graft is complete. However, the pain won’t be too extreme. You can manage it with ice, and your dentist might also recommend medications to keep the swelling down.The swelling will be one of the most noticeable effects during your recovery. It’s important to work on reducing the swelling, since it can get in the way of your healing process.You’ll also need to take care with what you eat while you recover. Some procedures will restrict you to a liquid diet during recovery, while others may allow a variety of soft foods. However, it will be a while before you can eat anything hard or crunchy.
When you sleep, you may need to keep your head elevated, so blood doesn’t gather at the surgical site and cause more swelling. And it’s important to avoid strenuous activity for a while so nothing harms the site of the graft.
How long does dental bone graft pain last?
Again, the answer to this question is highly variable. Patients who take good care of the surgical site should have less pain for a shorter period of time than those who do not. The physical process of grafted bone connecting to existing bone is not painful in and of itself.
Can a dental bone graft fall out?
It is not uncommon for patients to see small particles of bone around the surgical site in the weeks following the bone graft. This does not mean your bone graft is falling out! This is a natural part of healing. In some cases, your dentist will cover the surgical site with a protective covering to help healing, and if this flakes off it can resemble bone. A more common complication is dental stitches coming loose or falling out before the wound is healed. This can happen if you accidentally bite down on something hard before the wound is closed. If this occurs, call your dentist immediately. They can stitch up the area again.
What are the signs of dental bone graft failure?
Dental bone graft failure is an uncommon complication, but it does happen. A crucial part of the procedure is making sure the area of the bone graft is completely cleaned out and all inflamed tissue is removed before proceeding. If this does not occur, the residual debris and infection can cause the body to reject the graft.
Other common causes for failure include:
• Autoimmune disorders
• Poor blood supply
• Poor general health
• Allergic reaction
• Verve or tissue damage
What influences the cost?
When it comes to bone grafting, the general calculation of expenses is a challenging task, as each case is unique most of the time. The total cost is basically calculated based on the amount of bone grafting, the type of the intervention and the material costs.
The actual price of the intervention is made up of:
• The cost of the surgery
• The cost of bone grafting material used
• The cost of the membrane used
during the surgery. The costs of surgery depend on the type of the intervention. The amount of the materials used is always determined per unit.