If you have severe gum disease (periodontitis), you made need a bone graft to provide adequate support that will hold your teeth in place. Bone grafts take existing bone from the jaw and allow new bone to replace the bone destroyed by gum disease. While we have discussed the causes and treatment for gum disease previously, sometimes a more serious procedure is necessary.

What is a Dental Bone Graft

A dental bone graft is the removal of a piece of bone from the jaw or body such as the hip to be implanted in the jaw to create a stable base for the teeth to repair the damage of gum disease in order to allow the patient to keep their teeth. This procedure can take longer than most because the transplanted bone has to be prepared for implantation. New bone growth eventually replaces the graft material, and the amount needed can vary.

What To Expect During Bone Grafting

Where does the bone graft come from?

There are three main options for receiving a bone graft for your teeth. These can be your jaw, hip, or a commercial synthetic alloplastic graft made from hydroxyapatite (the main mineral component of bone). The synthetic option is the most common now, because it’s faster, bonds well with the rest of the bone, and has a durability and ability to function well with the surrounding bone.

Are dental bone grafts painful?

If you’ve ever had a wisdom tooth that was rooted firmly in the jaw, part of the jaw is removed. Similarly here, bone grafts generally have some pain or discomfort after the surgery, but not everyone will experience the same level of discomfort. Some may not need any, but pain medications can be an option for the discomfort during recovery. Many people only need antibiotics to prevent infection post-surgery and do fine without any pain medication.

How long does a bone graft procedure take to complete?

The entire procedure takes about 45-90 minutes to complete, and you can be up and walking immediately afterwards. If you’re a little drowsy after the surgery, it should wear off soon after.

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

The recovery period of a dental bone graft has two phases. The first is the initial recovery, which is about 2 – 3 weeks. You should feel pretty normal after this period and be able fine for most activities. For sports and especially contact sports, it’s best to take a 5 – 12 month break in order for the bone to regrow and strengthen fully. This can be different based on your age and oral health.