Bone Grafting Q&A

Bone grating, despite sounding ominous, is a fairly simple procedure that we’re able to perform right here in our office. It always brings up questions though so today, we wanted to take the time to answer a few of the most common ones for you.

– What exactly is bone grafting?
Bone grafting is a procedure performed to increase the volume of bone in a given area.

– Why would I need to have a bone graft?
Bone grafts are most commonly used to create bone for implant placement, but grafting can also be done to correct defects in the jaw bone or around the teeth.

– How does the procedure work?
Bone grafting can be done with the patient’s bone or with donor bone. When a patient uses their own bone, the bone is first harvested from another site. This could be from either the chin or the back of the jaw bone. Donor bone is most commonly used. This bone comes from tissue banks. Donated tissue is purified, freeze dried, and sometimes de-mineralized. The process removes all material that the patient’s body would recognize as foreign. Once the bone graft material is obtained (whether from the patient or a donor), it is placed into the area where the bone is deficient. After the procedure, the graft is allowed to heal for several months before it is mature.

– How long is the typical recovery from a bone graft?
The first phase of recovery is swelling and discomfort, which is usually better within a week. After that, the process of healing is fairly silent. It takes anywhere from 4 to 6 months before the graft is mature.

– Are there any substitutions to bone grafting?
Since most grafting is for implants, there can sometimes be alternatives. If all of a person’s teeth are being replaced with implants, it is possible to place implants into areas of existing thick bone. These implants are often angled as to take advantage of areas of good bone. This is sometimes referred to as “Pro Arch” or “All on 4”. For single teeth sites, we can sometimes do “ridge splitting” or “ridge spreading”. This is where the existing bone is spread out, and the implant is placed into the spread out bone.

Did we answer all of your questions? If not, let us know! We’ll be happy to discuss any questions or concerns with you.