Boston Dental Bone Grafting

Dental bone grafting at Boston Center for Oral Health is typically associated with dental restorations such as dental implants and porcelain fixed bridges. In the majority of cases, the success of a restoration procedure can hinge on the height, width, and depth of the jawbone at the implant site. When the jawbone has receded or sustained significant damage, the implant(s) cannot be supported and bone grafting is usually recommended for the ensuing restoration.

There are several major factors that affect jaw bone volume:

  • Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease can affect and permanently damage the jaw bone that supports the teeth. Affected areas progressively worsen until the teeth become unstable.
  • Tooth extraction: Studies have shown that patients who have experienced a tooth extraction subsequently lose 40-60% of the bone surrounding the extraction site during the following three years. Loss of bone results in what is called a “bone defect”.
  • Injuries and infections:Dental injuries and other physical injuries resulting from a blow to the jaw can cause the bone to recede. Infections can also cause the jaw bone to recede in a similar way.


What are the reasons for getting a bone graft procedure?

Bone grafting is a highly successful procedure in most cases. It is also a preferable alternative to having missing teeth, diseased teeth or tooth deformities. Bone grafting can increase the height or width of the jawbone and fill in voids and defects in the bone.

There are two main ways in which bone grafting can positively impact the health and stability of the teeth:

  • Jaw stabilization: Bone grafting stabilizes and helps restore the jaw foundation for restorative or implant surgery. Deformities can also be corrected and the restructuring of the bone can provide added support.
  • Preservation: Bone grafting can be used to limit or prevent bone recession following a tooth extraction, periodontal disease or other invasive processes.

What are the types of bone graft procedures?

There are several types of bone graft procedures. Your dentist will determine the best type for your particular condition.

  • Autogenous bone graft: Harvested from the patient’s own body (usually from the posterior part of the lower jaw or the chin). This method is preferred because it produces the most predictable results.
  • Allograft bone graft: Cadaver or synthetic bone is used in this type of graft.
  • Xenograft: Cow bone is used in this type of graft.

What does getting a bone graft procedure involve?

Initially, one of our Boston dentists will thoroughly examine the affected area in order to assess the general condition of the teeth and gums. If periodontal disease is present or the adjacent teeth are in poor condition, these factors must be fully addressed before the bone grafting procedure can begin. The dentist will also recommend panoramic X-rays in order to assess the precise depth and width of the existing bone. On occasion, a CAT scan may be recommended to determine the bone condition. Depending on these results, the dentist may also anesthetize the area and explore into the gum in order to determine what kind and how much bone is required.

A bone grafting procedure can often take several months to complete. Bone is typically harvested from your own body (or on rare occasions obtained from a “bone bank”) and added to the affected site. This bone will fuse with the existing bone and the migration of cells will cause firm adhesion and cell growth. Supplementing the jaw with bone will result in greater bone mass to help support and anchor the implant(s).

During the surgery, the dentist will numb the grafting and extraction sites using a local anesthetic. A small incision will be made to prepare the site for the new bone and it will be anchored into place. On occasion, a synthetic membrane may be used to cover the new bone. This membrane prevents soft tissue and bacterial invasions and encourages new bone growth. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be provided with comprehensive instructions for your post-operative care. The dentist will prescribe medications to help manage infection, discomfort, and swelling.

Boston Dental Bone Grafting Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is dental bone grafting?

A: Dental bone grafting is a surgical procedure in which bone or bone-like material is transplanted to the jawbone or other areas of the mouth to create a stable base for dental implants or to support natural teeth.

Q: Why would I need dental bone grafting?

A: You may need dental bone grafting if you have experienced bone loss in your jaw due to factors such as tooth loss, periodontal disease, or injury. The grafting procedure helps to rebuild the jawbone and provide a strong foundation for dental implants or other dental prosthetics.

Q: How does a dental bone graft work?

A: A dental bone graft involves placing bone or bone-like material onto the affected area in your mouth. This graft acts as a scaffold for new bone growth, encouraging your body to naturally regenerate bone tissue. Over time, the graft material is replaced by your own newly formed bone, creating a solid foundation for dental implants or other dental procedures.

Q: What are the different types of dental bone grafts?

A: There are several types of dental bone grafts, including autogenous grafts (using your own bone), allografts (using donor bone), xenografts (using animal bone), and synthetic grafts (using artificial materials). The choice of graft material depends on factors such as the size of the defect, the location of the graft, and the patient’s individual needs.

Q: Will I experience any pain during a dental bone graft?

A: The dental bone graft procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, so you should not feel any pain during the surgery. After the procedure, some mild discomfort or swelling may occur, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications and cold compresses.

Q: How long does it take for a dental bone graft to heal?

A: The healing time for a dental bone graft can vary depending on the size and complexity of the graft, as well as the individual’s healing ability. In general, it can take several months for the graft to fully integrate with the existing bone and for new bone to form. Your dentist will monitor your progress and provide guidance on the timeline for implant placement or other dental procedures.

Q: What happens after a dental bone grafting procedure?

A: After a dental bone grafting procedure, it is important to follow your dentist’s postoperative instructions carefully. This may include taking prescribed medications, practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding certain foods, and attending follow-up appointments to assess healing progress. It is crucial to give your body adequate time to heal and allow the new bone to develop before proceeding with further dental treatments.

Q: Are there any risks or complications associated with dental bone grafting?

A: Like any surgical procedure, dental bone grafting carries some degree of risk. Possible complications include infection, graft failure, damage to surrounding structures, and excessive bleeding. However, with proper planning, technique, and postoperative care, the risk of complications is minimal. Your dentist will discuss the potential risks and benefits with you before the procedure.

Q: How successful are dental bone grafts?

A: Dental bone grafts have a high success rate when performed by experienced dental professionals. The success of the graft depends on various factors, including the patient’s overall health, the quality of the bone graft material, and adherence to postoperative care instructions. With proper planning and execution, dental bone grafts can provide a strong foundation for dental implants or support natural teeth for many years.

Q: How long do dental implants last after a bone graft procedure?

A: Dental implants placed after a bone graft procedure have the potential to last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. However, individual factors such as oral health habits, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions can affect the longevity of dental implants. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene and follow your dentist’s recommendations to ensure the long-term success of your dental implants.

True-or-False Quiz on Dental Bone Grafting in Boston

1. True or False: Dental bone grafting is a procedure performed to promote the recovery of healthy bone in the jaw.

Explanation: True. Dental bone grafting is a procedure used to stimulate the regeneration of healthy bone in the jaw. It helps in the reconstruction and augmentation of the jawbone, creating a solid foundation for dental implants.

2. True or False: Sinus lift procedures are a type of bone grafting technique used in dentistry.

Explanation: True. Sinus lift procedures, also known as sinus augmentation, are a common bone grafting technique used to add bone to the upper jaw in the area of the molars and premolars. It helps to create a sufficient amount of bone for the placement of dental implants.

3. True or False: Dental bone grafting has no esthetic considerations and only focuses on bone reconstruction.

Explanation: False. Esthetic considerations play a crucial role in dental bone grafting procedures. The goal is not only to reconstruct and augment bone but also to achieve an esthetically pleasing result that supports the placement of dental implants and maintains a natural-looking smile.

4. True or False: Bone grafts help in the remodeling and regeneration of natural bone.

Explanation: True. Bone grafts provide a scaffold for the growth of new bone and encourage the process of bone remodeling and regeneration. As the graft material integrates with the existing bone, the body forms new bone cells to replace the transplanted bone.

5. True or False: Dental bone grafting may be necessary if a tooth is missing and there is not enough bone to support a dental implant.

Explanation: True. When a tooth is missing and there is insufficient bone in the jaw to support a dental implant, a dental bone graft may be required. The graft helps in creating a solid foundation and promotes the growth of new bone to support the dental implant.

6. True or False: Osteoconduction is a process that occurs after bone grafting, where the transplanted bone acts as a scaffold for the growth of new bone.

Explanation: True. Osteoconduction refers to the process where the transplanted bone serves as a scaffold or guide for the growth of new bone. It allows the body to naturally build.

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