Major & Minor Bone Grafting

Missing teeth over a period of time can cause your jawbone to atrophy, or resorb. This often results in poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants as well as long term shifting of remaining teeth and changes to facial structure. Most patients, in these situations, are not candidates for dental implants.

Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow bone where it is needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, but it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.

Major Bone Grafting

Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee). Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum to protect the bone graft, as well as encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration, or guided tissue regeneration.

Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patient’s own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different areas depending on the size needed. The skull (cranium), hip (iliac crest), and lateral knee (tibia), are common donor sites. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.

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Bone Grafting FAQ

When tooth loss causes your jawbone to deteriorate and lack adequate bone mass and structure to support a dental implant, we build up a foundation for that new tooth with a bone graft. This dental procedure of bulking up bone enables most patients to be eligible for the placement of dental implants.

What is a bone graft?

A bone graft is a minor surgical procedure in which we replace the missing bone with new bone that not only provides a solid structure for the placement of implant teeth but also promotes new bone growth.

What is a bone graft made of?

There are several types of bone grafts. We prefer to use donor bone harvested from human cadavers.

Allogenic bone is taken from a cadaver, and since it is dead bone, it cannot produce new bone but serves as a structure that your surrounding bone can grow around and fill in.

Xenogenic bone is harvested from non-living animal sources, often a cow, and also acts as a scaffold over which your bone can grow.

Autogenous bone grafts are created from your own bone. The bone is usually taken from the mandible for smaller bone grafts and the hip when a larger amount of bone is needed.

How long does it take to recover from a bone graft?

Just as every patient is unique, so are oral procedure recoveries. And when it comes to bone grafting, completely healing must take place before the patient can move forward with dental implant placement.

When you come in for a consultation, Dr. Szutz will give you a specific idea of what to expect in terms of recovery. It usually takes a week or so to feel back to normal, but our patients typically average a healing period of about 6 months. During this time of bone-regeneration, your body will continue to make new bone.

Can your body reject a bone graft?

No, however sometimes the graft does not take as planned and therefore not have enough bone for implant placement. Once the graft has healed, we’ll be able to determine if there’s enough bone mass for implant placement. If not, we can add more grafting material when the implant is inserted in the jawbone.