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Bone Graft Surgery- Purpose, Procedure and Risk

June 24, 2022

Introduction 

Bone grafting for dental implants is a painless procedure with a normal course of healing.

This is a surgical procedure to repair, restructure, or rebuild the jawbones through bone transplant.

It is commonly performed while fitting dental implants and there is nothing scary about it at all.

Many times, a person getting dental implants may not have adequate bony support or may lack healthy bones in the mouth.

To provide support to the dental implants, this procedure may be carried out by the dental surgeon before proceeding with the dental implants.

What is a Dental Bone Graft?

This is a fairly common surgical procedure carried out when there is a loss of bony support or absence of healthy bone structure in the mouth. 

These changes impact the neighboring tooth/teeth. These changes also create a problem for dental implants due to lack of support.

The remedial measure is bone grafting by an experienced dental surgeon to add volume as well as density to the jaw in specific areas of bone loss.

When done by an expert, this is a painless, uneventful procedure with rapid healing. Dental bone grafting for dental implants is a prerequisite for longevity and success of implants in people who have low bone mass or weak bone structure in their jaw.

What are the Different Types of Bone Graft Procedures?

These are the four major types

  • Socket preservation also called ridge preservation
  • Block bone graft
  • Sinus lift
  • Periodontal bone graft

Who May Need Dental Bone Grafts?

Dental bone grafts are mostly performed on:

  • People requiring implants who have insufficient bone structure and density
  • People with loss of bone tissue due to tooth decay and gum disease
  • For those whose facial structure and appearance has been affected due to bone loss. This can occur due to injuries, infections, certain treatments like for cancer, etc
  • Some people having a tooth extraction
  • People who need more structural support before getting the dentures

How is this Procedure Done?

First and foremost, the type of bone graft procedure and the type of graft have to be decided after assessing the patient. 

  • The graft may come from your body which is called autogenous graft. 
  • It may come from another person via human tissue bank and it is called allograft. 
  • The graft may come from an animal which is called xenograft
  • Synthetic bone material or natural substitutes can also be used. Synthetic bone graft is called alloplast. 

Bone tissue can regenerate and this is what makes bone grafting successful. Thus it is both filler and a scaffold.

This procedure does not generally lead to any major reaction making it a really safe and successful process. 

The Procedure

The First Step for Dental Bone Grafting:

  • It all begins with an oral examination to assess the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw.
  • The dentist discusses the next step with the patient and understands their needs
  • This is followed up by X-Rays or CT scans to locate the specific areas of bone loss or decay. Your dentist makes a treatment plan based on the results 

The Second Step

It involves the main procedure. 

  • First of all, the type of bone graft is decided. In case of Autografts, the donor site is ascertained and then the bone is taken out using special tools under the effect of anaesthesia to make it a painless process. Necessary repairs are made around the site of bone harvest.
  • Once the bone or replacement is ready, the area where the graft is to be placed is numbed with a local anaesthetic. There is no discomfort felt.
  • After the area becomes numb, a small incision is made in the gums so that the jawbone can be exposed. This area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after which the bone grafting material is placed. 
  • An additional layer of membrane may be placed for added protection. 
  • The gum tissue is placed back and the incision is sutured. 

The Follow Up

After getting a dental bone graft, there can be a little pain, swelling, and bruising like any other minor surgery.

Dr Gaurav Sharma at Kirkland Premier Dentistry explains that these are minor side effects which are easily manageable with anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers.

Antibiotics may be given to prevent any infection. Do comply with the instructions provided by your dentist. 

Do not worry if after the process you notice granules of bone coming out from the treatment site. Always keep your dentist informed and follow the instructions.

For people getting Autografts, two sites are involved but the discomfort is not significant as the area of bone harvest is not extensive.  

Recovery Period

Like any other surgical procedure, recovery depends upon the extent of area involved, general health of the patient which determines the rate of healing, type of graft, etc.

Most people can go back to a normal routine after 24 hours. Complete healing takes between 3-9 months while one needs only a week or two to feel completely normal. 

Your dentist checks for healing to see if the bone is strong enough before going ahead with the dental implants. 

How to make the bone graft heal faster?

Certain precautions must be taken like

  • Avoiding direct impact or pressure to the area
  • Avoiding hot foods and liquids
  • Avoiding hard and crunchy food

You can accelerate healing by

  • Applying ice packs for the first 2-3 days
  • Eating soft, bland, nutritious food till the site heals
  • Sleeping with head elevated to avoid pooling of blood
  • Taking medicines as prescribed

Talking about side effects, Dr Gaurav Sharma says that the rare side effects are graft failure, blood clots, infection, and nerve damage but are highly unlikely to occur with modern day procedures.

Reach out if there is

  • Intolerable pain
  • Increased swelling 
  • High fever of 101° or more
  • Pus or discharge around the grafting or harvesting site

To Sum It Up

Whether you need bone grafting for tooth loss that requires an implant or you need it to improve your appearance or you need it because of bone loss due to decay, going to a specialist can bring the desired outcomes without any negative consequences.

Loss of strength or structure of the jaw will impact the nutritional status, mental health, physical appearance, and confidence of a person.

Our expert team at Kirkland Premier Dentistry, under Dr Gaurav Sharma ensures that to get the desired outcomes from the process.

FAQs

1. What type of safety concerns are there with this process?

A. There are no major safety concerns because the chances of reactions and rejections are highly unlikely. A graft is processed to avoid any immune reaction. Today, there is rigorous screening and processing due to which chances of infection are also low. 

2. How long after bone grafting can you get a dental implant? 

A. It depends upon the rate of recovery and healing of the bone tissue. Everybody reacts and responds differently. In most types of graft, a patient is ready for dental implant within maximum 4-6 months. In sinus lift procedure, one may need to wait for a little longer. Very rarely, bone grafting and dental implants may be done during the same session. 

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