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Five things you didn’t know about bone grafting

If you’ve been missing one or more teeth for a long time and are considering a dental implant, there’s a chance your dentist or oral surgeon has brought up the subject of bone grafting.

A modern dental procedure used to increase jawbone volume, a bone graft can make a dental implant possible even after years of bone deterioration. Here are 5 things to know about bone grafting.

Bone grafts are not painful

Aside from a small incision in your gum tissue that will be tender for one to two days, you won’t feel a thing while your bone graft matures.

Patients can expect a high success rate

Modern technology has made bone grafting relatively predictable. While there is a small chance your bone graft could fail, it’s often possible to repeat the procedure with additional grafting material. The long-term prognosis of an implant set in a socket treated with a bone graft is similar to patients who did not require a bone graft.

Your body replaces the graft with real bone

A common misconception is that a bone graft fuses donor bone to your jawbone. What really happens is that your body recognizes the bone graft and slowly replaces the added minerals with natural bone tissue. The graft acts as a frame, telling your body where to put the new bone. This is why it can take up to six months or longer for your bone graft to fully mature.

Not all bone grafts use the patient’s bone

While some bone grafts are still performed using pieces of the patient’s chin or jawbone, it’s more common these days to get the material from an outside source. Bone graft material can either be 100% synthetic or come from a tissue bank or even animals. All donor bone tissue is processed, sterilized and freeze dried before clinical use.

There are other forms of bone augmentation

Bone grafting is part of a family of procedures known as bone augmentations. Other techniques to prepare a patient’s jaw for implants include a sinus lift or ridge expansion.