Dental Bone Graft: Procedure, Healing, & Aftercare

Dental Bone Graft: Procedure, Healing, & Aftercare

Sometimes the names of the dental surgeries alone fill people with dread. The idea of pain can instil fear in people, even prompting them to avoid such surgeries. However, in many cases, a dental bone graft is necessary and it’s only a 1-hour procedure. Sometimes it’s a surgery that needs to take place before any other dental treatment, such as dental implants

In a dental bone graft, bone gets attached to the area of the jawbone where it’s lost. Unlike common thought, the bone is not always taken from the body of the patient. There are many ways to perform this surgery and the dentist decides the most suitable technique for the patient. Patients who’re seeking dental implants need to have an adequate bone structure that can support the implants. If this isn’t the case, a dental bone graft becomes necessary.

What Is A Dental Bone Graft? 

A dental bone graft is a surgical procedure to repair or rebuild the bones through the transplantation of bone tissue. The surgery proceeds with the surgeon making an incision along the jawline. After that, the piece of bone gets attached to the area from where it’s missing. Before performing the surgery for placement of dental implants, a patient needs dental bone grafts if he/she has gum disease or tooth loss. 

There are different treatment options, which are as follows:

  • Autografting – The surgeon can take the bone from the patient’s hip or tibia. Even the back of the jaw can provide bone tissue for this surgery.
  • Allografting – If the bone graft gets extracted from the body of another human being, this is allografting.
  • Alloplasty – This is where instead of bone tissue, the surgeon attaches synthetic material to the jawbone.
  • Xenografting – This is when other species provide the bone for grafting.

When Do You Need A Dental Bone Graft? 

Let’s dig deeper to find out about the different scenarios where a bone graft becomes necessary. People who have poor dental hygiene or have suffered injuries to the jawbone might also need dental bone grafts. 

For Getting Dental Implants 

The hardware of dental implants needs something to hold onto. When you’re getting dental implants, the tooth roots get replaced by the implant. Then comes an abutment, and after that crown gets placed on top. To anchor the implant, a healthy bone structure is important. Otherwise, it won’t anchor into the jawbone, and your crown will displace. 

Therefore, before the dental implant procedure, the surgeon makes sure that the bone of the patient is not damaged. If the patient needs a dental bone graft, the dentist will perform this treatment before the dental implant procedure. After the patient recovers from the dental bone graft procedure, he/she can undergo the dental implant procedure.

Gum Disease, Tooth Loss & Bone Loss 

On losing a tooth, the space left behind can also cause bone loss. Even if you’re not getting a dental implant, you might need to undergo a dental bone graft. Patients who do get dental implants benefit from it in that it prevents further bone loss since the implant screw acts like tooth roots.

However, bone loss due to tooth loss or gum disease will leave your jaw unsupported. Another problem that can arise with bone loss is that it can change the shape of your face. It can make it look smaller. Your skin can wrinkle in the area as the jawbone won’t provide support to it. 

Therefore, it’s necessary to get a dental bone graft in this case. You should also know that if you’re experiencing bone loss in a particular area of the jawbone, it will start affecting the nearby gum tissue and teeth. Bone loss can also lead to further tooth loss.

What Is the Dental Bone Graft Procedure? 

The dentist will first administer anaesthesia so that you don’t feel any pain during the surgery. After that, the surgeon will make an incision to expose the jawbone. They can take healthy bone tissue from the jaw of the patient, but some cases are more complicated than that.

The synthetic material, donated bone, or autografted bone gets placed in two sections between the bone that needs repairing. Screws or adhesives materials to secure grafts in place. The surgical site gets sewn by the surgeon after the completion of the procedure.

What Are the Different Types of Bone Grafts?

The extent of injury or damage will determine the type of dental bone grafts you have. 

Socket Bone Graft

This kind of dental bone graft takes place after tooth extraction. It’s to prevent bone loss. The bone directly goes into the socket and even helps if a patient decides to get dental implants. 

Block Bone Graft

This is the dental bone graft where the surgeon takes the bone tissue from the back of the jawbone, where the wisdom tooth is. The surgeon may choose this graft type if the bone loss is in the front. 

Lateral Ridge Preservation Graft

Behind the front teeth is the alveolar ridge. This dental bone graft seeks to maintain it. 

Sinus Lift Procedure

Extraction of upper teeth leaves empty sockets behind. The roots of some upper teeth go way into the sinus cavity. The removal of a tooth doesn’t leave much separation between the mouth and the sinus cavity. Moreover, it can displace the sinuses and cause them to move down. A bone graft can ensure greater support to the jaw, and it can better anchor an implant. 

Are Dental Bone Grafts Painful? 

With the development of modern anaesthesia, patients don’t usually have to fear pain during surgery. In a dental bone graft, the patient usually receives local anaesthesia from the surgeon. You may feel a tinge of pain and slight discomfort when the surgeon inserts the needle into the gums to numb the area. After that, you won’t feel a thing. Surgeons also offer sedation as another option for this procedure. 

If you prefer having sedation, a special anaesthesia team will sedate you, and you will be half asleep during the procedure, so you won’t even feel anything as the procedure goes by. If the surgeon removes the bone tissue from your own jaw, you might experience more pain during the recovery period. Our surgeon will provide you with painkillers and antibiotics to make sure that you don’t develop an infection.

How Long Does Dental Bone Graft Take To Heal?

The surgical area where incisions are made for the dental bone graft should heal in a matter of a couple of weeks. However, the healing of the underlying bone takes longer. It can be anywhere between 3-9 months. You can get any additional dental treatments that you need only after you’ve recovered from this procedure.

What To Expect After Dental Bone Graft?

If you’re getting dental implants, you’ll have to wait until the grafted bone fuses with the natural bones. It’s not possible to give an exact timeframe for when the fusion process would be complete. Every patient is different, and it can take from 3 months to a year for the bones to become one. 

After the procedure, the dentist will provide you with all the necessary medications so that you can recover successfully. You’d need to do the following:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene – It should include flossing and mouthwash. However, don’t apply too much pressure as it can damage the gums. You can expect to experience some bleeding and discomfort during the recovery. 
  • Avoid smoking – As the constriction of blood vessels will reduce blood flow to the surgical wound, do not smoke. This will only prolong the recovery period. It will take more time for your wound to heal than normal.
  • Switch to soft foods – Your surgeon might recommend you a soft, liquid-based diet for at least 2-3 days after the procedure. For at least a week, you might have to avoid hard foods that require chewing or biting. 
  • Avoid hot foods – Try to avoid hot beverages and foods for a couple of days after the procedure. Eating ice cream can actually help you with bleeding.

You may experience bruises and swelling after the procedure. To help with the bruises and swelling, you should use ice packs. At the end of the day, keep in mind that every patient is special. They recover at their own pace from different injuries. We cannot give you an exact timeframe for how quickly you will recover.

What Much Does A Dental Bone Graft Cost?

A dental bone graft can cost anywhere between £500 – £2,500 in the UK. They are not easily available on the NHS either, so you will have to get them privately. Its price can depend on the type of graft you’re getting and the severity of the problem. We will provide you with the overall cost of your treatment package only after determining the extent of the problem, but it starts at £300 in Turkey.

Summing it Up 

Not all people who’re looking to have dental implants need to undergo a dental bone graft. It’s only for those patients who have poor bone structure due to bone loss. This will make it impossible for the implants to hold in place hence the bone graft. Moreover, it will fix any changes that your facial structure has undergone due to bone loss.