4 Reasons Dental Bone Grafts Aren’t as Scary as They Seem

Dental bone graft—sounds scary, right?

It’s not! A dental bone graft is simply a procedure for patients who’ve experienced bone loss in the jaw. The grafting procedure is usually performed before dental implants are inserted or when neighboring teeth are negatively impacted.

What Is a Dental Bone Graft?

A dental bone graft is a procedure designed to supplement both volume and density in the jaw. Bone recession can occur if you’ve lost one or more teeth and have not replaced them with an implant or dentures. Any unused bone is reabsorbed by the body.

There is also a bacteria that could be at work below the surface in a condition called periodontitis. This infects the gums and can destroy bone and ligaments.

How Does a Dental Bone Graft Work?

After the bone graft has been placed, it creates space for your body to do its own repair work. Think of it as a lattice or trellis on which your bone tissue can grow and regenerate.

Material for the bone graft can be made of synthetic materials or, in some cases, it can be purchased from either a human tissue bank or an animal tissue bank. Some providers also supplement a dental bone graft with platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This is a sample of your blood that’s incorporated into the site to promote healing.

If you’re also experiencing gum recession, this can expose the roots and leave open pockets for bacteria to enter. Your periodontist may suggest an Alloderm gum graft which will stop gum recession and protect against further loss.

These are a lot of technical terms and procedures, but don’t be alarmed! Here are four reasons dental bone grafts aren’t as scary as you think.

“Getting a bone graft for dental implants is a common occurrence. In fact,
we complete bone grafts on an almost daily basis at our office.”

Reason #1: Dental Bone Grafts Are Extremely Common

Many decades ago, bone grafts for dental implants were a complex, hospital in-patient surgery. This is where some of the fear has stemmed from—the simple concern of undergoing a major surgery.

Today, that simply isn’t true! Dental bone grafts are a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed right at your local periodontist’s office. There is no scary hospital stay!

Getting a bone graft for dental implants is a common occurrence. In fact, we complete bone grafts on an almost daily basis at our office. Most graft procedures can be performed in an hour or two and then you’ll be on your way!

Reason #2: We Don’t Have to Harvest Your Bone Material

Back in the early days of dental correction, harvesting a patient’s own bone material was the only way to perform a bone graft. This required an additional surgery from another part of the body, usually a leg or a hip that has bone material to spare.

With today’s dental technology, this isn’t the only option. If you need a larger graft due to extensive bone loss or you’re in need of facial balance restoration, it could be discussed as a possibility, but there are other options available.

Allograft

Allograft is a bone graft performed using natural human bone that has been sourced from a human tissue bank.

Xenograft

Xenograft is the process of transplanting bone material harvested from a cow. We understand this may sound a little strange, but rest assured, it’s standard practice.

Alloplast

Alloplast is a bone graft performed with all synthetic materials.

Reason #3: You Don’t Have to Be Put to Sleep for Dental Bone Graft Procedures

Your typical dental bone graft procedures do not require you to be under general anesthesia. In this case, the periodontist will numb the area with a local anesthetic before creating a small incision.

If you have a more complex case or are experiencing an uncomfortable amount of apprehension, IV sedation is available to you. Nitrous oxide and oral sedation are also options to improve your comfort level.

Dental bone grafts recovery is easy. Without sedation, it’s common for patients to return to work or school the same day. Most patients report experiencing little to no pain at all and medications can be prescribed to manage any post-op discomfort.

You should be back to your old self within one or two weeks, but the bone graft may take between three and nine months to heal completely.

Reason #4: Bone Grafts for Dental Implants Are Highly Successful

Don’t just take our word for it! 

According to a report from the American Dental Association, a 95% to 98% success rate can be expected for implant-related dental procedures.

In the United States alone, approximately 5 million dental bone grafts for implant procedures take place every year.

Consult Central Texas Periodontics for All of Your Bone Graft Questions

You see, there’s nothing so scary about a procedure that 5 million people receive every year! If you’re not sure if you need a dental bone graft or you don’t know which kind is best for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our highly qualified team!