Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is often closely associated with dental restorations such as bridge work and dental implants. In the majority of cases, we can only place an implant with a minimum height, depth, and width of bone. When the jawbone has receded or sustained significant damage, the implant(s) cannot be supported on this unstable foundation and bone grafting is usually necessary to provide a platform for the implant.

There are several major factors that affect jaw bone volume:

  • Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease can affect and permanently damage the jaw bone that supports the teeth. Affected areas progressively worsen until the teeth become unstable.  Bone lost due to gum disease does not grow back on its own and must be regenerated with grafting.
  • Tooth Extraction – Studies have shown that patients who have experienced a tooth extraction lose 40-60% of the bone surrounding the extracted tooth during the following three years. Loss of bone results in what is called a “bone defect”.  Bone grafting can prevent loss of the bone after a tooth extraction. 
  • Injuries and Infections – Dental injuries and other physical injuries resulting from a blow to the jaw can cause the bone to recede. Infections can also cause the jaw bone to resorb in a similar way. 

Reasons for bone grafts

Bone grafting is a highly successful procedure in most cases. It is also a preferable alternative to having missing or compromised teeth. We can increase the height or width of the jawbone and fill in voids and defects in the bone, such as when there is an infection or extraction of a tooth.  Also, we can positively impact the health and stability of the teeth by preserving bone or stabilizing bone.

Jaw Stabilization – stabilizes and helps restore the jaw bone for restorative or implant surgery. Deformities can also be corrected and the restructuring of the bone can provide added support.

Preservation – limit or prevent bone loss following a tooth extraction, periodontal disease, or other invasive processes.

Oral Examination

We will thoroughly examine the affected area in order to assess the general condition of the teeth and gums. If periodontal disease is present or the adjacent teeth are in poor condition, we need to address these factors fully before the bone grafting procedure can begin.  We cannot grow healthy bone in an unhealthy mouth!  We use digital x-rays with extremely low radiation doses for your protection and safety to determine health and stability. 

What Does Bone Grafting Involve?

There are several types of bone grafts. The one we use most commonly is allograft, which is cadaver bone.  It is pre-screened and treated for safety.  

The bone grafting procedure can often take several months to complete, just like the healing of a broken bone. We place the bone graft into the affected area at the time of the tooth extraction, as that will yield the best results.  Over time, your body will replace the grafted bone with your own “native” bone. 

After the procedure, we will provide you with comprehensive instructions for post-operative care. Additionally, we may prescribe medications to help manage infection, discomfort, and swelling.