Dental implants are an excellent option for those looking to replace a missing tooth, but they do require a healthy bone structure in the jaw to support them. In cases where the bone is not strong enough or is too thin, your dentist may recommend a dental bone graft to make the implant treatment possible.
Whatever the case, our specially trained oral surgeons and periodontists at your local National Dental Care practice are available to determine the right course of action for your oral health needs.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, always seek a second opinion from a qualified health practitioner.
What is a dental bone graft?
A dental bone graft is a procedure used to help with the implementation of dental implants in order to increase the stability of the implant.
Dental implants are long-term, and low maintenance solution to a lost tooth. They are essentially false teeth that are fused directly into the jawbone, making for a durable and long-lasting (usually permanent) solution.
In order to give the dental implants, the best chance of success, the jaw bone they are fused into must be sturdy and healthy. If the jawbone is too weak or thin which may be the case if you have suffered gum disease, untreated dental cavities, a traumatic injury or infections that have impacted the bone, then the bone won’t be able to adequately support a dental implant.
A dental bone graft can be a good option to add strength and durability to the jawbone, ensuring there is a good base for the dental implant.
This means those who have lost both a tooth (or multiple teeth) as well as jawbone integrity can still enjoy the benefits of dental implants, from greater functionality and oral health to a happier, brighter smile.
How does a dental bone graft work?
Firstly, your dentist will determine if a dental implant is the best option for you, and if so, they will then decide if you will need a dental bone graft to create a strong base for the implant.
This will involve a specialist dental professional examining your mouth and taking scans to determine the health of your jawbone. A 3D image will be produced of your jawbone via a cone-beam x-ray to get a better understanding of the condition of the bone.
If they determine that the jawbone is too weak, they will advise you to have a dental bone graft, and talk you through the process.
The piece of bone they will use can come from one of several areas, including your chin, lower jaw, or even shin or hip. Your specialist may even recommend synthetic or other materials to create the graft, depending on the viability of each option for your health and needs.
Bone-grafting can be a complicated process. For extensive cases, where large changes must be made to the shape and size of the area for the dental implant, separate surgery must be done before the implant can be placed (usually several months later).
However, sometimes there is enough bone present to insert the implant, but not quite enough to cover up the sides of the implant. In this case, a small grafting procedure is done at the time of implant surgery.
The grafted bone usually takes around six months to fuse with the existing bone. Bone grafting has a very high success rate as the bone is not rejected in the same way as organs in organ transplants.
Advantages of receiving a dental bone graft
Receiving a dental bone graft comes with a number of benefits that your dentist will talk you through prior to any surgical work. Some of the key benefits include;
- Makes dental implants possible: Without a dental bone graft, your natural bone may not be strong enough to support a dental implant.
- Avoids alternative treatment options: Many dentists will recommend dental implants over alternative treatments such as bridges and dentures, as they require more maintenance and can be less durable. A bone graft helps to ensure that the preferred option - implants - is possible.
- Ensures implants last the test of time: One of the benefits of dental implants is that they are durable and long lasting, and this is largely thanks to the strong root fused into the jawbone.
How much does a dental bone graft cost?
The cost of a dental bone graft can vary quite a lot, depending on what you need.
A minor bone graft can be completed at the same time as your dental implant. This helps to keep the cost (and recovery time) to a minimum. A simple graft like this using synthetic bone can cost approximately $300 to $800.
A major bone graft will require a separate surgery, which adds to the cost, and takes much more recovery time. Generally speaking, you might expect to pay anywhere from $2,500 to $3,500 for this type of bone graft.
Keep in mind, there may also be additional scans, medications, and appointments that add to the overall cost.
Your best option is to speak with your dental professional for a better estimate for your individual oral health.
What to expect from your dental bone graft appointment
Each dental bone graft appointment and dental implant is different, so this process will vary from patient to patient depending on what you need.
That said, here’s a brief guide to what to expect from a dental bone graft:
- The whole area will be numbed with local anaesthetic
- Your surgeon will make an incision into the gum to expose the jawbone
- They will clean the area
- Next, they attach the bone graft
- This graft may be covered by a protective membrane
- In some cases, your surgeon will put the dental implant in place at this stage
- They will then sew the gum back into place
- You may expect swelling and discomfort for a few days, which can be managed with pain medication
- Your oral surgeon will likely provide you with a prescription for antibiotics to avoid infection
- Most bone graft procedures only take a week or two for recovery, although the graft itself can take three to nine months to fuse fully
- Your dentist will take new scans to check on the graft and determine when to finish the dental implant
Discuss your dental implant options with a National Dental Care dentist today
If you have any questions about the dental bone graft procedure, be sure to get in touch with a dentist to find out more.
Find your nearest dental office and get in touch today to schedule an appointment.