When Is a Bone Graft Necessary?

When Is a Bone Graft Necessary?

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination study, in 2000, about .07% of dental patients had an implant. By 2016, that number was around 5.7%, which is an increase of millions of implants. Going even further, the study found that some experts estimate that dental implant prevalence could hit 23% by 2026. 

However, some people may find that they are ineligible for implants due to an inadequate amount of bone in their jaw. Implants need a healthy jawbone to provide enough strength and stability to function properly. But all hope is not lost. With a bone graft, people can often regenerate enough jawbone to become eligible for a life-changing implant. 

If you’re looking to improve your smile or replace lost teeth, visit the team at Willow Glen Dental Care in San Jose, California. We’re proud to offer state-of-the-art and comprehensive dental care for your whole family. In this blog, Danielle Wehle, DDS, and George Kuo, DDS, discuss bone grafts, who may need one, types of bone grafts, and what to expect from the procedure. 

What is a dental bone graft? 

The alveolar ridge is the part of the jawbone that supports your teeth. It secures the roots of the teeth to provide a stable foundation. When the ridge doesn’t have enough bone, it can no longer properly support natural teeth or implants. 

A bone graft helps build bone by supplying some outside bone material to the location where it’s placed. It acts as a scaffolding for the bone to regenerate, adding more volume and density. Eventually, enough regeneration occurs, and the alveolar ridge can again be used for support. 

Who needs a bone graft? 

Bone loss can occur for many reasons. For many people, the biggest culprit is age. Other factors include: 

Although building bone for implant placement is a big driver for bone grafting, some dentures may function better after a bone graft.  

Types of bone graft

The best bone grafts come from your own body, usually from your hip, tibia (leg), or the back of your jaw. The grafts promote faster healing and new bone formation. However, other bone materials may work better for different people. The four types of bone grafts used are as follows:

At Willow Glen Dental Care, we typically use autografts and allografts. 

Bone graft procedures

Bone grafts are performed with a local anesthetic, so you’ll be numb during the placement. Once you’re ready and your gums have been thoroughly cleaned, a small incision is made so that the area of the jawbone that needs grafting is visible. The donor’s bone is carefully applied to your jawbone, and you’re sewn back up for healing. Over the next few months, the graft fuses with your jawbone and spurs bone growth. 

Is it painful?

Pain from a bone graft should be minimal. We use state-of-the-art and minimally invasive techniques to minimize complications and reduce your pain. Some people may find over-the-counter pain medications are enough, but prescription pain medications are also an option. If the graft is made with your own bone, you may experience some discomfort at the location the graft was taken from, but it shouldn’t last more than a few days. 

To learn more about bone grafts and if they can help you achieve the smile you desire, book an appointment online or over the phone with Willow Glen Dental Care today.

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