Bone Graft

Bone grafting is reshaping the bone for dental treatment

By Brandie Umar, Executive Director of ContentLast modified: March 04, 2011

Bone Graft

Dental bone grafting is a dental surgery to replace or reshape the bone supporting teeth. A bone graft may be needed to repair damage caused by gum disease, trauma or dentures that have caused bone loss. Bone grafting can also be used to add bone before a dental implant or alongside another reconstructive dentistry procedure. Soft tissue grafting of the gum is commonly required alongside dental bone grafting. 


Why is a dental bone graft needed?

The jawbone supports teeth. If there is insufficient volume of bone, teeth are not securely held in the gum and dental treatments to replace missing teeth or treat gum disease may not be possible. Dental bone grafting is often necessary before dental implants are fitted along with a sinus lift. Dental bone grafting is also used to preserve the bone and prevent dental problems in the future.


Where do dentists get the bone for a dental bone graft?

There are three types of bone graft that can be used to rebuild the jawbone:


  • Autogenous bone graft - using bone taken from another area of the patients body
  • Allograft bone graft - using cadever bone (donated bone from a bone bank) or synthetic bone
  • Xeograft -using bone taken from cows (this method of grafting is rarely used)

Most bone augmentation procedures use autogenous bone taken from the hip or shin. Bone grafts using a portion of hip bone are very successful as the hip bone contains bone-forming cells within the inner tissue (bone marrow). Bone can also be taken from the patients chin.


What is the procedure for dental bone grafting?

There are different techniques for performing bone augmentation of the jawbone. Commonly, dentists make an incision in the gum to reveal the existing bone. Small holes are then drilled into this bone to make it bleed. Blood cells encourage healing and bone growth and increase the chance of successful grafting of the new bone.The area for the bone graft is thoroughly cleaned by a hygienist and the donor bone is inserted into the graft area using titanium screws to hold it in place. Tissue membranes are then placed over the bone graft itself to prevent soft tissue growth around the graft before it has secured to the existing bone.

Bone grafts normally heal within 6 months however it can take up 12 months before the new bone is strong enough to support dental implants. 


Cost of dental bone grafting 

Bone grafting can be expensive, especially if there is a lot of damaged bone that needs augmenting. Bone grafting procedures can cost between $250 and $2000.



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