Dental implants are gaining more and more popularity among patients with tooth loss around the world. These implants play as replacement tooth roots to hold the top artificial tooth restoration, which can be a dental crown, bridge, or denture. This restorative method is extremely effective and durable as the replacement tooth is securely attached to the jawbone and looks similar to the original one. However, to be eligible for the treatment, the patient has to have sufficient jawbone to support the implants. What if you don’t have enough jawbone density? Good news is you can opt for a procedure called a dental implant bone graft for jawbone augmentation. 

dental implant bone graft

So what exactly is a dental bone graft  and is it something that you need? Let Sydney Dental guide you through the basics of bone grafting so you can decide for yourself. 

dental implant

1. Dental bone graft, what is it?

A dental bone graft is a surgical procedure where bone tissue is taken from our body or a human or animal tissue bank to fill the jaw where there is bone loss. The bone graft material can also be man made.

Bone graft is needed to add volume to the jaw and stimulate the regeneration of the jawbone. This is done as a preparatory procedure for a dental implant surgery. For the success of dental implants, the patient must have enough jawbone to hold the implant posts in place for them to get fused into the body.

1.1 Who does a dental bone graft benefit?

Generally speaking, a person with significant bone loss in the jaw may find a dental bone graft helpful. The dentist may recommend it if you:

  • Are getting a tooth removal;
  • Are receiving dental implant treatment to replace lost teeth;
  • Are getting dentures and need to rebuild your jaw first;
  • Have bone loss sites as a result of gum disease.

2. What are the steps involved in dental bone grafting?

2.1. Before a bone graft

Prior to the procedure, the dentist will give you a thorough oral exam to determine the state of your teeth, gums, and jaw. They will give you X-rays or scans to calculate the degree of your bone loss. Then the dentist will have a discussion with you about treatment options and thereby provide you with a treatment plan that best accommodates your needs.

2.2. During a bone graft

The dentist will first use local anesthesia to numb the affected site up. Next step is creating a small cut into the gums and moving back your gum tissue a little to reveal the jawbone underneath. After cleaning and disinfecting the area, the dental provider will fill your chosen bone grafting material into the affected site. Most of the time, the dentist will cover it with a protective membrane. Lastly, your gum tissue is pulled back in place and the cut is stitched shut.

Typically speaking, the use of general anesthesia is not necessary for your procedure – a numbing medication is enough to keep you from feeling any pain. In cases that the patient has anxieties over the procedure, the dentist may consider giving them IV sedation for their peace of mind. The same also applies to a more complex and invasive procedure. Always consult with your dental care provider about your anesthesia options. If sedation is the choice, you will have to arrange a family member or a friend to give you a ride home after the surgery as you will feel groggy for hours before the sedation effect completely wears off.

dental implant bone graft
dental implant bone graft

2.3. After a bone graft

After the surgical bone grafting, it is common for a patient to undergo some pain, swelling, and bruising. These mild side effects should get better and go away on their own after a couple of days. These discomforts can be alleviated with pain killers and the dentist may also prescribe some antibiotics for you to keep infection away. Keep in mind to take your prescription as directed.

Tiny pieces of bone can be coming out of the surgical site in the first several days. They look like grains of sand or salt and are not an indication of anything serious. However, you can give your dentist a call to make sure that your healing time is going in the right direction.

2.4. Recovery from a bone graft

Most patients can go back to their routine in 1 to 2 weeks. Full healing, however, may take around 3 to 9 months or even longer. The recovery time differs depending on certain variables, like the bone graft type, the position of the graft in the mouth, and your genetic predisposition.

Most of the time, you can return to work or studies on the same day of the procedure. Nonetheless, if sedation is used, the patient may need to take a day or two off for home recovery.

3. What is the success rate for a dental implant bone graft?

The success rate for dental bone grafting is usually very high. Although failure is rare, there is still a possibility that it happens, just like other surgical procedures. Certain risk factors, like smoking or underlying medical conditions can increase the risk of a failed bone graft. A failed bone graft may manifest in the following signs:

  • Deteriorating pain or swelling after the first week following grafting;
  • Pus formation or fluids around the graft surgical area;
  • Receded gums;
  • Jawbone density remains the same without improvements.

3.1 Is dental bone grafting painful?

Most patients feel no pain with the help of anesthesia during the procedure. Make sure that you take all the prescriptions and strictly follow your dentist’s post-op instructions.

3.2 Are there any risks or complications associated with a bone graft?

Dental bone grafting is deemed safe in most cases. However, just like any surgery, there are risks that come with this procedure, as follows:

  • Heavy bleeding;
  • Infection;
  • Damage to the nerve;
  • Anesthesia-induced complications.
dental implant bone graft
dental implant bone graft

4. When to seek medical attention?

During your recovery phase, keep the following symptoms on the lookout and contact your dental care provider right away if you notice any of them:

  • Worsened swelling;
  • Severe pain;
  • Pus formation at the wound site;
  • Fever that runs from 101 degrees or over.

5. A note from Sydney

Jawbone deterioration can take a huge toll on your oral wellness by causing tooth shifting and tooth loss. A dental bone graft can be a great solution to this problem. It also serves to improve your eligibility for dental implant treatment and other dental restorative methods. 

Hopefully this read has provided you with the background information on bone grafting as a complementary procedure for dental implants. If you would like to learn more about either of the two surgeries and your candidacy, do not hesitate to reach Sydney. We are at 499-501 Ba Hat St, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC, Vietnam looking forward to your visit all along. You may also call us at (028) 3504 9440 for a free no-obligation comprehensive consultation. Your pretty, shiny smile is 100% guaranteed at Sydney Dental!

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