For many patients, the idea of needing a bone graft is enough to send them running from their dentist’s office without a look back. Fortunately, the process is not as scary as it sounds. Bone grafting allow dentist’s to install a dental implant or bridge in patients who would have been unable to receive them in the past. Today patients who would have had to simply settle for traditional dentures or continue on with missing teeth can have their smile restored to a more natural look and feel.

What are the types of bone grafts?

There are two main types of bone grafting techniques. In cases where the jaw has enough bone to support and implant, but not enough to cover the sides of the implant, a small graft will be performed during the implant placement. This procedure is fairly simple and will be performed quickly as your implant is being put in. The second type of bone grafting is more extensive and will require a separate surgery from the implant placement. This type of bone grafting is used when the dentist needs to make large changes to the dental ridge in order to properly support a stable implant.

Where does grafted bone come from?

The material used for bone grafts will come from one of four sources:

  • Your own bone
  • Freeze dried human bone from a tissue bank
  • Processed animal bone element
  • Mineral bone substitute

Naturally, bone from your own body will be the safest, most effective, and most desirable material for a bone graft. This type of bone will be obtained as your dentist drills the jaw to place the implant. The bone shavings that are naturally produced during this process can be cleanly collected for use in a bone graft. For larger surgical grafts, bone may have to be harvested from elsewhere in your body.

Receiving human or animal bone elements is quite similar to receiving a blood transfusion from a blood bank. Though there is some risk involved, this risk is extremely small. All materials are obtained from a reputable national tissue bank, making the chance of infectious disease transmission very small. Your dentist may ask that you take additional precautions such as taking an antibiotic before or after your procedure. Mineral bone substitutes are completely sterile, but will be the least effective. These bone graft materials will be naturally absorbed by the body and replaced with healthy bone.

How much will a bone graft cost?

The cost of having a bone graft place will vary depending on the size of the defect that is being corrected. Dr. Picard will thoroughly discuss the size of your required bone graft with you before proceeding, and will create a treatment plan that will outline the cost of surgery before scheduling your procedure.