What is a bone graft?

A dental bone graft is a surgical procedure to add bone to an area of the jaw where there is not enough bone. This can be done to support dental implants, to fill in a defect in the jawbone, or to prevent further bone loss.

During the procedure, the dentist will make an incision in the gum tissue and expose the bone. Once open, the grafting graft material is placed into the defective area. The bone graft material can be taken from the patient’s own body (autograft), from a cadaver (allograft), or from a synthetic source (alloplast).

Once the bone graft material is in place, the dentist will close the incision and suture it closed. After the procedure, patients may be given antibiotics and pain medication (if needed), an antibacterial mouthwash and instructions to avoid eating certain foods and putting pressure on the bone graft.

The bone graft will need time to heal. This can take several months. During this time, the patient may experience some discomfort and swelling.

Once the bone graft has healed, the dentist can proceed with the next stage of treatment, such as placing dental implants. If dental implants are required, your implants will be placed after the grafted bone has fused and become a strong, integrated part of the existing bone. The amount of time the integration takes varies depending on the location of the graft and the density of the bone. It may take three or more months.

Here are some of the reasons why a dentist might recommend a bone graft:

  • To support dental implants. Dental implants need a certain amount of bone in order to be stable. If there is not enough bone, a graft can be used to add the necessary bone.
  • To fill in a defect in the jawbone. Sometimes, the jawbone can become damaged or destroyed due to injury, infection, or gum disease. A bone graft can be used to fill in the defect and restore the jawbone to its original shape.
  • To prevent further bone loss. In some cases, bone loss can be progressive. A bone graft can be used to stop the bone loss and prevent further damage to the jawbone.

Dental bone grafts are a safe and effective procedure. However, like any surgery, there are some risks associated with it. These risks include infection, bleeding, and pain.

If you are considering a dental bone graft, talk to your dentist about the risks and benefits of the procedure. They can help you decide if a bone graft is right for you.

Sedation and Implant Dentists offer trusted, comprehensive dental care from one convenient location in Los Angeles County. Our dentists engage in ongoing continuing education to provide patients with the latest advances in dentistry including modern dental implant solutions, custom crowns and bridges and transformative 3D technology.


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by Thomas Gonzales D.D.S.

Thomas Gonzales D.D.S. is a Los Angeles dentist with advanced training in dental implants. He has 46 years’ experience and is licensed in IV Sedation. Dr. Gonzales has taught courses worldwide on dental implants including for Noris Medical, Nobel, Neodent, LVI Global and Dental Implant Institute. He was a professor of IV Sedation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine and a neuromuscular dentistry instructor for Loma Linda Medical Center. He is a member of several prestigious organizations, including: the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and American Dental Society of Anesthesiology. Dr. Gonzales is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. He served in the United States Army and is a Vietnam War Veteran.

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