Bone Graft Surgery: What to Expect

When you’re scheduled for bone graft surgery, you probably have lots of questions about the procedure.

Bone Graft Surgery

Bone graft surgery of the jawbone is often the first step toward getting permanent dental implants. Not everyone needs a bone graft to ensure a long-lasting dental implant, but when bone matter has dissolved, dental implants can’t be placed without a solid foundation.

Why Is Bone Grafting Done?

Tooth loss happens for a wide variety of reasons — accidents, decay, disease. You want to restore your smile, but if you put off getting dental implants, your unused jawbone begins to reabsorb into your body. When this happens, grafting is necessary before you can get dental implants.

The jawbone must be dense, thick and wide enough to support the screw that is placed into it that holds the rest of the implant, abutment and crown.

Bone grafting uses healthy bone fragments from other areas of your body, such as the back part of your jaw or your hip. If you would rather not use your own bone, synthetic material or bone from human cadavers or cows also can be used. You can discuss each option with your oral surgeon and review the pros and cons of each.

The Procedure

The procedure may take place in either the surgeon’s office or a hospital, depending on the size of the grafts needed. Typically, IV sedation or local anesthesia is used during the surgery.

The oral surgeon will remove bone from the site, make an incision at the graft area and the bone piece will be anchored in place with screws. Your surgeon may place a membrane around the newly integrated bone, and then stitch up the incision.

The Healing Process

You will be given a prescription painkiller to help manage discomfort while healing. You will also take an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection. Your oral surgeon will encourage you to use an ice pack to help reduce swelling, especially in the first 24 hours after the procedure.

At first, you will be instructed to use a warm saltwater solution to rinse bacteria from your mouth. Don’t skip any meals, but make sure to limit your diet to soups, smoothies and other nutritious soft foods that don’t require chewing.

Smoking has been proven to reduce the chances of a successful bone graft, so you will be encouraged to refrain.

It will take about six to nine months for the bone graft to fully integrate into the jawbone and heal completely. After this, dental implants can be safely put in.

Are you ready to take the next step toward a beautiful, restored smile? Talk to Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today about whether you are a candidate for dental implants and bone graft surgery.