A dental bone graft is a regeneration procedure for patients who have lost bone tissue. It is performed to increase the amount of bone in your jaw, where additional support may be needed. This treatment helps protect your teeth from bacteria and trauma. And, as your natural bone grows, it will absorb the graft.
Aging, missing teeth, genetic or developmental defects, untreated periodontal disease, and trauma to the jaw are all contributing factors that can lead to bone loss. If you are replacing an extracted tooth with a dental implant, your dentist may recommend a bone graft to help support your implant.
There are several bone grafting materials that your dentist can use to rebuild your jawbone and it may take several months for the transplanted bone to grow. If you are having a dental implant procedure, you may need just a minor bone graft, which can be done at the same time as your implant procedure.
There are several types of bone grafting materials available that your dentist can use, including:
- Autografts – bone tissue obtained from your own body, typically from either your chin, shin, or hip
- Allografts – bone tissue obtained from a human donor that has undergone treatments to be neutralized
- Xenografts – inorganic portions of animal bones
- Alloplasts – created from hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral in bone
- Ceramic-based grafts
- Growth factors
The Bone Graft Procedure
During your bone graft procedure, your gums will be separated from your teeth so your dentist can access the roots of your teeth and the underlying bone. Your roots will be cleaned and any areas of the bone that are damaged will be filled with the grafting material. A barrier will then be put in place to protect the bone and your gums will then be re-attached to the area with sutures.
Recovery After a Bone Graft Procedure
You may experience pain and swelling for several days after your bone graft procedure. It’s important that you follow your dentist’s instructions for postoperative care and return for a follow-up appointment so your dentist can determine how well you are healing.