If a patient loses bone mass on the jaws, they become eligible candidates for bone graft treatment. The dentist completes the process before doing any other procedure like installing implants. Most professionals recommend grafting when bone loss affects adjacent teeth. Different bone graft types are available. The material can come from another part of your body, in which case it is called an autogenous graft.

Other Terms You Might Come Across Are


Xenograft – The term refers to tissue from an animal tissue bank. Allograft – That is tissue from a human bank. Alloplastic Graft – Is from synthetic material. The bone graft does not replace your bones. Instead, it holds that position so your tissues can regrow. The treatment plan may differ with each case. Your dentist may add platelet-rich plasma from your blood to the graft to speed up the regeneration and healing process. You might qualify for a dental bone graft if you need teeth extraction, dental implants, or dentures. Patients who get gum disease that affects the bone structure are also candidates.

Who Performs the Dental Bone Graft Procedure?

A specialist such as an oral surgeon or periodontist can perform the procedure. However, a general dentist can also conduct it.

Dental Bone Graft Types

Periodontal bone graft

If gum disease goes untreated for long, it can damage the bone supporting the teeth, causing them to loosen. So dentists place a bone graft around the tooth to offer extra support and limit mobility.

Ridge augmentation

If a tooth is missing from its place for an extended time, the jawbone starts to thin out, making it unfit to support a replacement later. Ridge augmentation boosts the jawbone volume and width, which provides stability, and prepares the foundation for when you get implants or other treatment options.

Socket preservation

Socket preservation is also known as ridge preservation. Dentists place the graft on the socket of an extracted tooth immediately after the procedure. Its purpose is to prevent the socket from caving into the gap by filling the space.

Sinus lift

Maxillary sinuses are on the upper section of the back teeth. If any teeth go missing, the sinuses can occupy the space that roots leave. Placing an implant in that space cannot do any good because the implant can penetrate the sinus membrane. Therefore, a sinus lift performed by a periodontist or oral surgeon is necessary. It involves raising the sinus back to the right position and then placing a dental bone graft under the sinus to provide a stable foundation for dental implants.

Dental Bone Graft

Dental Graft Procedure

Before bone graft installation

The dentist starts by conducting a comprehensive oral exam to determine the extent of damage to gums, teeth, and jaws. Part of that involves an x-ray to show how much bone mass you have lost. Then, the dentist will discuss the results with you and develop a treatment plan. Be assured you will get a personalized plan that suits your situation.

During surgery

Bone graft surgery starts with preparing the site for the procedure. The dental provider will use a local anesthetic before creating an incision. You will not feel any pain as they move the gum tissue to expose the jawbone. The next step is sterilizing the area, after which the dentist puts the bone graft material in place. They may protect the bone graft using an extra membrane as a cover. The final step during the procedure is placing the gum tissue back and suturing the area.


Bruising, swelling, and pain are normal after the surgery, but they should clear within a few days. In most cases, pain medication helps manage the pain, but you may also get an antibiotic prescription from your dentist. Ensure you follow the instructions and complete the dosage.

Most patients also report seeing bone pieces coming from the surgical area. The tiny fragments are the size of sand or salt and should not worry you. However, you can consult your dentist if you feel uncomfortable and keep up with subsequent appointments.

Dental Graft Procedure

The Pain Level for Dental Grafts

The pain level is usually manageable for most people. However, if you experience intense pain, contact your dentist and keep up with the medication they give you. Ensure you follow the aftercare instructions they provide as well.

Anesthesia for Dental Bone Graft

A local anesthetic is usually sufficient for bone graft surgery. You can choose either nitrous oxide, IV sedation, or oral sedation, but the dentist may opt for general anesthesia, depending on the severity of your condition. Your dentist will explain all the possible choices after evaluating your situation.

The Dental Bone Graft Success Rate

Complications from dental bone graft procedures are very minimal. Chances of the treatment failing are also slim to none. However, that does not guarantee success. People who have pre-existing medical conditions and smokers have a higher chance of failing. Common signs of failure you can look out for include:

  • Pain that persists or worsens for more than a week
  • Abscess coming from the surgery area
  • Gums that pull away from the teeth after stitching
  • Jawbone volume reducing or remaining the same after graft installation

Contact your dentist if you notice any of those signs.

All On 4 Dental Implants

Potential Risks Associated with Dental Grafts

Despite the overall safety of the dental graft procedure, there are also some risks you might encounter. Apart from complications arising from the anesthesia, you may also lose a lot of blood, get an infection at the site, or experience nerve damage. Our dentists take all the necessary precautions to mitigate such risks.

Benefits of the Procedure

The main advantage of dental bone graft is that it makes it easier for you to get implants, bridges, and other similar treatments. It ensures you do not suffer permanent damage after trauma or teeth loss.

Recovering from Dental Graft Implant

Most patients recover within a week or two after getting the procedure. However, complete healing can take up to nine months or longer. Some people recover fully within three months. Some of the factors influencing the recovery duration include the location of the bone graft placement, the type of graft used, and the healing ability of the patient’s body.

The bone graft procedure should not stop you from resuming your regular routine. You can go back to school or the office a day after the procedure. However, if the dentist used sedation, you might have to rest at home for two or three days in some cases.

It is also important to note that healing may happen in stages and varies with each person. Therefore, you will have to keep up with regular appointments so the dentist can monitor your progress. That allows them to notify you when the bone graft is stable enough to withstand another installation like an implant.

Recovering from Dental Graft Implant

When to Call a Doctor

Knowing the critical signs to watch out for can save you a lot of pain and stress. They include:

  • Excessive pain
  • Fever of 101° or more
  • Secretion around the bone graft area
  • Unrelenting inflammation

Call your dentist immediately you notice any of the above signs. They will perform further investigations and provide the assistance you need quickly.


Jawbone deterioration can cause many problems if left unattended. It reduces your overall oral health and might cause a loss in mobility or make it harder to qualify for dental implant treatment and other dental restorative measures. Contact us today if you suspect you have jawbone loss. Our Barrie clinic is fully-equipped to provide you with the comprehensive care you need to maintain functional oral health.

When to Call a Doctor