If you are missing teeth or suffer from gum disease, tooth loss or bone loss, a dental bone graft may be a recommended treatment option for you. Approximately 2.2 million dental bone graft procedures are performed globally each year, highlighting its popularity as a dental treatment.

In this blog post, we will highlight everything you need to know about dental bone graft procedures. We will look at its definition, candidates for this procedure, how to prepare, the procedure itself, the recovery process, and more.

Utah Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is your premier choice for dental bone graft procedures in  Provo, American Fork, and Price, UT. Let’s get started.

What Is a Dental Bone Graft?

Effectively, it is a procedure designed to increase the amount of bone in a part of the jaw in instances where additional support is needed or bone has been lost. The required bone may be a synthetic bone material or from elsewhere in the body and fused to the existing bone in the jaw.

It may also be performed in instances where further procedures are necessary, such as dental implants, or if bone loss is affecting the health of teeth and gums.

There are a number of different types of dental bone grafts that can be performed. These include:

  • Autografts (using bone from the patient’s own body)
  • Allografts (using bone from a different person, typically a cadaver)
  • Xenografts (using bone from another species)
  • Alloplasts (using synthetic material, such as calcium phosphate)

Each of these options comes with its own advantages and risks. We will be able to recommend which option is best suited for you, depending on a number of different factors.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

As we indicated at the start of this article, there are a number of reasons why a dental bone graft might be performed. Let’s take a look at who would be a good candidate for this procedure.

Firstly, common candidates would be people who are planning to get dental implants in place of missing teeth. Implants are effectively artificial roots that are placed into the jawbone, with a crown that is placed on top. In many cases, a bone graft is required to provide a strong enough base for an implant.

Secondly, this procedure may be required to support areas of the jaw that has lost bone either due to gum disease or tooth loss. Gum tissue and nearby gum can become affected in instances where there has been bone loss. Therefore, it is beneficial to stabilize the jaw in order to prevent further bone loss and potential future complications.

Thirdly, you may be a candidate for a dental bone graft if your appearance has been affected by bone loss. A person’s face tends to look shorter than it used to when there has been a loss of bone mass in the jaw. This can also affect the appearance of lips and the muscles around them, as well as make the jaw area appear more wrinkled than it used to.

How to Prepare for a Dental Bone Graft

There are a number of steps you should take when preparing for a bone graft. This includes avoiding eating or drinking for 8 to 12 hours beforehand (this will depend specifically on the anesthesia to be used).

If you take any medication, especially blood thinners which can increase the risk of bleeding complications during the procedure, you should first speak to your doctor.

As you will feel groggy following the procedure, it is recommended that you make prior arrangements for getting home.

What Does the Procedure Look Like?

A typical dental bone graft involves the following steps:

  • Anesthesia will be administered prior to the start of the procedure
  • The affected area will be cleaned
  • An incision will be made in the gum to separate it from the bone
  • The bone material will be placed between two sections of bone that need to grow together
  • The bone graft will be secured either with special screws or a dissolvable adhesive material
  • To begin healing, the incision will be sewn up

There are different types of bone graft, including sinus lift, block bone graft, and socket graft. The specific type will determine the exact nature of the procedure.

What Is the Recovery Process Like?

Following the procedure, patients will be given instructions for changing the dressing they receive and a prescription for antibiotics/pain relievers.

During the initial period of recovery, a number of foods and drinks should be avoided. These include hot liquids and crunchy foods. Also, physical activity should be avoided to avoid putting the incision at risk.

After a few weeks, the jaw should start to feel normal. In cases where a bone graft was performed prior to dental implants, recovery can take a number of months before this subsequent procedure can be performed.

Periodic visits to a dentist are recommended to monitor the healing process.

Understanding the Dental Bone Graft Procedure

The bottom line is that a dental bone graft procedure can be performed for a number of reasons, including to prevent long-term health problems associated with gum disease and tooth loss. It may also be performed prior to a dental implant procedure.

To learn more about this procedure and to see if you are a good candidate, speak to our expert team today. We will be able to answer any questions you can during your consultation and advice on the next steps to take.