Dental Bone Graft

What is dental bone grafting?

Dental bone grafting is a treatment used in Dentistry and Stomatology and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to increase the size of the maxilla or mandible. In this way dental implants can be placed in patients with little or insufficient bone. The anesthesia is usually local, but the specialist will agree with the patient, based on their personal needs.

Dental bone grafting allows implants to be placed in patients with little bone base.
in patients with little bone base

Why is it performed?

Dental bone grafting is performed when the patient does not have a good bone base on which to place a dental implant. Placing a dental implant in a patient without bone will rarely have good results. If an implant is made with little bone and fails, its extraction is much more traumatic, since removing it means losing a lot of bone, leaving it in a worse situation than the initial one.

What does it consist of?

The bone that is implanted can be obtained from the patient himself, normally from the jaw, the skull or the iliac crest, or a donor bone graft (human or animal) can be used. It is always preferable to use bone from the same patient, if possible. The graft can be of different types, the most common being:

  • Particulated dental bone graft or with guided bone surgery.
  • Elevation in the maxillary sinus.
  • Dental bone graft in block.

During the intervention the specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery or in Dentistry and Stomatology will make an incision in the area where the graft is to be made, lifting and separating the gum. He will then place the chosen bone graft and fix it to the jawbone with a screw. The area will be covered with a membrane that will allow the implant not to be lost and the gum will be sewn so that saliva does not infect the area.

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The integration of the dental bone graft depends on the type of bone used and the size of the defect to be treated. Normally the period for the graft to fully adapt is about three to four months. If the bone used is artificial or animal bone, the time may be longer, about six months.

Preparation for dental bone grafting

Before performing a dental bone graft, a joint diagnostic process must be followed, in which dentists specialized in different branches intervene. To evaluate the viability of the bone grafts it will be basic to make a 3D scan (CBCT), both of the lower and upper jaw. This will allow the specialist to know the patient’s height, width and bone quality. It will also allow the surgery to be planned by computer.

In addition, it is important that the patient follows the specialist’s advice regarding possible medication to be taken, so that the postoperative period is more bearable.

Care after the operation

It is normal for the area to swell a little after the operation and for the patient to feel discomfort. It is not necessary absolute rest or very special care, but it is recommended to limit physical exercise during the first two weeks and thus avoid excessive swelling of the area. It will be important to follow the recommendations of the specialist, taking the appropriate medication. The diet will also have to be adapted during the first weeks, being softer.

Alternatives to this treatment

If a dental bone graft cannot be performed, dental implants cannot be used either, since the patient does not have a sufficient bone base on which to place them. This means that the only viable alternative for these patients is the use of dentures or removable prostheses.