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Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure that helps restore the structure and function of tooth-supporting tissues.
Bone loss is a common side effect of untreated periodontal disease (advanced gum disease). Your dentist may suggest a bone graft for this condition.
The graft may be taken from another area of your body, a donor, an animal, or made of synthetic materials. The bone graft material typically consists of processed bone minerals that help your body create new bone cells over time.
You’re an ideal candidate for a bone grafting procedure if you:
On the other hand, you shouldn’t receive a bone grafting procedure if you:
Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is an advanced form of gum disease that permanently damages the gums, bones, and surrounding tissues.
The long-term buildup of plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) initiates periodontitis.
The gums become irritated and separate from your teeth, forming deep “periodontal pockets” below the gum line. Over time, plaque and tartar collect in these pockets.
If you do not get your teeth cleaned professionally, the disease will eventually result in soft tissue and bone loss. Your body does not naturally grow new bone cells, so a graft may be necessary.
Bone grafts repair damaged bone and boost the chances of saving your teeth.
If tooth loss occurs due to periodontitis, you’ll need a dental implant placed after the bone graft heals.
Implants are artificial teeth that mirror the shape of a screw and bond with your natural bone. You need strong and healthy natural bone to successfully support implant placement.
There are five types of periodontal bone grafts available:
An autograft is when a surgeon uses your bone for the graft. It is usually taken from the back of your jawbone or hip bone.
However, this type of graft isn’t the best option for everyone. Pain at the donor site can be severe and may cause primary challenges for certain people. Most surgeons use cadaver, animal, or synthetic bone grafts, and only an autograft in severe cases.
An autograft costs between $700 and $1,000 for a single area.
If you’re not a candidate for an autograft, your oral surgeon may recommend an allograft. An allograft is when a surgeon sources a piece of human bone from a cadaver.
This procedure is a safe and more affordable alternative to an autograft. There is also a low risk of infection with cadaver donor bones.
An allograft costs between $700 and $1,000 for a single area.
A xenograft uses a piece of bone from an animal, typically a cow. This procedure is relatively successful. However, it has a lower success rate than an autograft or allograft since the bone comes from a different species.
A xenograft does not stimulate the body’s cells to form bone. It acts as a scaffolding into which your bone naturally grows.
A xenograft costs between $700 and $1,000 for a single area.
An alloplast uses a synthetic bone substitute consisting of phosphorus, hydroxylapatite, and calcium. This procedure poses no risk for disease transmission and can heal small defects by itself.
Like a xenograft, an alloplast does not stimulate your body’s cells to form new bone.
An alloplast costs between $700 and $1,000 for a single area.
If you've lost some back teeth, part of your sinus may begin to fall and fill in the missing teeth gaps. If this occurs, a sinus lift might be your best option. A sinus lift restores your sinus to its normal position and repairs the gap with a bone graft.
A sinus lift and a dental implant cost between $3,000 and $6,000.
During a periodontal bone graft procedure, your dentist will thoroughly examine your gums, teeth, and jawbone. They may also perform a dental x-ray to determine any underlying problems.
Here's what to expect during a bone graft:
No, dental bone grafts shouldn't hurt. In most cases, you won't feel much at all during the procedure. However, it is possible to experience minor discomfort afterward.
Follow your doctor's aftercare instructions to prevent any pain or discomfort.
After a periodontal bone graft, you will most likely feel discomfort for a few weeks due to the anesthesia and incisions made during the procedure.
Post-operative pain is normal but should diminish after a few days. The bone graft should heal properly within four to six weeks.
It is also essential to only eat soft foods while your mouth heals, such as:
Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-inflammatory medication for pain and antibiotics to prevent infections. Make sure to take these medications as directed.
Normal side effects of a bone graft procedure include:
In some cases, bone grafts can also result in health complications, such as:
A dental bone graft helps restore lost bone and prevents further bone loss. There are many different types of bone grafts, and the best one depends on your needs and preferences.
In most cases, dental bone grafts shouldn't hurt. Remember to follow your doctor's post-procedure instructions to avoid pain or discomfort.
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