What is dental bone graft?

A dental bone graft is a procedure that replaces missing bone in your jaw with bone grafting material to encourage regeneration. As the natural bone grows, it absorbs the graft material, resulting in a fully integrated region of new bone.

A bone graft is most often used in restorative dentistry to bulk up the jawbone before having implant surgery. After significant trauma, infection, disease, or an extended period of time without teeth, your jawbone may need restoration before a tooth implant procedure. That’s because your jaw can actually lose some of its density, making it unfit for implantation. That’s where a bone graft comes in; grafts are a way to build your bone up, by inserting bone taken from another place in your body, or even another body.

Who need dental bone graft?

When a patient loses a tooth to gum disease, cavities, injury, or any other reason, the bone in the now-empty area will begin to erode. Your body will begin to reabsorb bone cells in a process known as resorption, which leads to bone loss only in the area with the missing tooth (the bone in the rest of your jaw will stay intact). This bone loss becomes problematic for a dental implant, as there may not be enough bone to set the implant.

With a dental implant, your body perceives that the root of a tooth is now present, and will halt the resorption process that leads to bone loss. From this, you can see that getting dental implants soon after losing a tooth is incredibly important to avoid bone loss and streamline the implant procedure.

How do I know if I have enough bone for a dental implant?

It is not easy to tell if you have enough bone for a dental implant just at a glance. X-rays can reveal the severity of bone loss that has occurred after your tooth was extracted, as well as if a bone graft is necessary.

Additionally, a personal consultation with a professional dentist can explore the options available to you to determine which bone graft is right for your needs.

  1. Autografts use bone tissue obtained from the patient’s own body. The practitioner typically takes this tissue from the patient’s chin, shin, or hip.
  2. Allografts come from a human donor, usually cadaver bone that has undergone treatments to make it neutral to immune reactions and free of host diseases.
  3. Xenografts use the inorganic portions of animal bones, and cows are a common source.
  4. Alloplasts are created from hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral in bone.
  5. Ceramic-based synthetic dental bone grafts are made from bioceramic materials such as beta tricalcium phosphate, hydroxyapatite, or bioactive glass.

Pros and cons for different bone graft materials will be analyzed later.

What are the steps of a dental bone graft procedure?

Before your dental bone graft procedure, you will meet with a periodontist or oral surgeon to discuss the treatment plan and determine the bone grafting material to be used. Your bone grafting procedure will depend on the purpose of treatment, but you can usually expect these steps:

Step 1: Anesthesia. Your dental professional will use a local anesthetic to numb the surgical site. You also might need IV sedation if they source the tissue from your own body or if you experience dental anxiety.

Step 2: Extraction and/or bone sourcing. If you are using an autograph, the dental professional will start by sourcing the bone from the chosen location. Similarly, if you need a tooth removed, the surgeon will perform the tooth extraction at this time. Combining tooth extraction with bone grafting encourages faster healing.

Step 3: Graft insertion. Next, the dental professional will thoroughly clean the area. If you do not have an extraction, the dental professional will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone. Then, he or she will attach the bone graft material to the exposed bone.

Step 4: Stitching. Once the graft material is in place, the area is sutured closed. The dental professional may use pins, plates, wires, cables, or even a titanium screw to hold the tissue together. If you source the bone from your body, the surgeon will also stitch that area together.

Step 5: Recovery. In most cases, you can plan to return home the same day as your procedure, but you might need a driver if you received sedation or general anesthesia. You will need four to six months — and sometimes longer — to completely heal and be ready for your dental implant. Your dental professional will provide instructions to care for the area, and you should follow these closely to prevent failure or complications.

How much does dental grafting cost?

The cost of bone grafting ranges widely. Generally speaking, in the USA, the cost is $300 to $800 per tooth or implant area if use synthetic bone grafting materials. Here in China, the bone grafting cost is similar. The cost charged by a dental clinic is around USD$350 for 0.25g and USD$500 for 0.5g synthetic beta TCP granules. Usually, it needs 0.25g-1g bone grafting materials per tooth.

If the bone needs to be harvested from another area of your body, such as your hip or the chin, the costs for this procedure are likely to rise significantly. Additionally, synthetic bone growth factors may be indicated which are quite costly. They can then range from $2,000 to $3,000 per implant area. This is because it will involve two procedures and more invasive measures.