Getting a Dental Bone Graft? Here's What You Need to Know

Dental bone grafts are a common procedure for those who need dental implants, who have bone loss after tooth loss, or who have weak bone around their teeth. Bone grafts sound like a scary procedure, but patients are surprised to find that they aren’t that bad at all! Did you know that dental bone grafts are usually an outpatient procedure and that most patients are back to their normal routines by the next day?

Endicott Dental knows all about bone grafts, and we know most patients are apprehensive about getting them. We believe this is because patients don’t know much about bone grafts. We want to remove the stigma and show you how important bone grafts can be to your dental health. 

We think that once you know what they are, how they work, and what to expect when getting bone grafts, you’ll approach procedure day with a lot less anxiety. So let’s find out all about dental bone grafts.

What Is A Bone Graft For Dental Implant?

A dental bone graft is when bone material is added to your jaw to strengthen it. This is often used after tooth loss to strengthen the bone for dental implants, but it can be used for other reasons. Why would you need a dental bone graft?

  • Filling the space after a tooth is pulled
  • Strengthening the natural bone for dental implants
  • Repairing the bone after periodontal or gum disease
  • Repairing the bone after bone disease (such as cancer)
  • Strengthening the bone before dentures
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How Does a Dental Bone Graft Work?

There are different types of bone grafts. Socket Preservation is done after a tooth extraction to preserve the integrity of the jawbone by filling the hole left by the tooth. Ridge augmentation repairs the jaw where teeth have been missing for an extended period. 

A Sinus Lift moves the sinus cavities back up to their proper places if they’ve dropped into the root area because of missing teeth. A Periodontal Bone Graft repairs bone damaged by disease.  

During a dental bone graft, a small incision is made in the gums, which is spread apart for access to the weakened area. Bone grafting material is put into the hole where a tooth once was. The bone graft material can be from your own bone elsewhere but usually is either from donated human bone or animal (horse) bone. 

Once the material is in place, we may add a membrane to keep the material in place and protect the bone graft. Then we sew up your gums with a stitch or two, and you’re good to go!

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Are You Put to Sleep for a Dental Bone Graft?

Many patients don’t require being put to sleep for a dental bone graft. Usually, we can simply numb your gums around the graft area so you don’t feel anything! If you require oral sedation or general anesthesia for a bone graft, however, Endicott Dental can work with you!

Does Bone Grafting Hurt? 

This may be the biggest question we’re asked, and it’s obviously the one that can bring the most anxiety. How much pain is there during and after the bone grafting procedure? We use numbing medicine on your mouth during the procedure, so you shouldn’t feel anything. 

If that isn’t enough, we can offer an oral medication that will make you sleepy but won’t put you out completely, otherwise known as conscious sedation. It will make it so you don’t feel anything. 

Once you get home, you may have some discomfort once the medicine wears off. We recommend sticking to a liquid diet that night and a soft food diet over the next few days while your gums heal. You can use over-the-counter painkillers if needed, but that should only be for a few days. Most of our patients are able to go back to work or to their normal daily routines the day after the bone graft.

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What Are Signs of Dental Bone Graft Failure?

On very rare occasions, the bone graft might not take. That seems to happen more frequently in those who smoke because smoking can suppress healing and weaken the bone. That’s why you shouldn’t smoke at least shortly before and for a few weeks after your bone graft. 

Your bone graft may not take if you get an infection. We take every precaution to keep you from getting an infection of your dental bone graft. We will give you instructions on how to care for the bone graft site during the healing process so it doesn’t get infected. 

However, if after a week you’re still experiencing pain, or you notice redness and swelling getting worse, there’s a chance you have an infection. If you suspect there is an infection, contact us immediately. Keep in mind, though, infections are very rare.

What Are the Stages of Dental Bone Graft Recovery?

Immediately after your bone graft, you will probably experience some pain and swelling. We recommend icing the site often for the first 2-4 days to reduce pain and swelling. Try not to do strenuous activities for the first couple of days. The increased heart rate and blood pressure could cause the surgery site to bleed. 
After a few days, you should start to feel like normal again. However, that doesn’t mean the bone graft is completely healed. In fact, recovery time usually takes up to 6 months for a bone graft to take and heal fully. We will keep an eye on it and let you know when it’s healed and when you’re ready for further treatment, such as dental implants.

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Getting Dental Bone Grafts in Broken Bow, OK

Do you need bone grafts to improve your smile? That’s a question Dr. Endicott can answer! Request an appointment with us, and we can provide a thorough examination to find out if a dental bone graft is what you need. 
We will talk you through the process and be there whenever you need us, so you won’t have to worry about the procedure or the healing. Ready to get started? Contact us today!

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