Ear, Nose and Throat (Otolaryngology) – Head and Neck Surgery

Dental Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that allows for the placement of bone in areas of the jaws that are deficient in bone or need additional structural support. Bone grafting not only replaces missing bone, but also stimulates new bone growth. Bone grafting is a commonly practiced procedure in oral and maxillofacial surgery. The procedures can vary widely depending on the size and location of the defect. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can perform minor grafting procedures in the office to prepare the site for future dental implant placement.

Bone grafts can be obtained in multiple ways. Bone can be harvested from the patient from various intraoral sites or as far away as the hip and tibia (autogenous). The site of grafting is determined by how much bone is needed to repair the existing defect. Alternatively bone can be obtained from medical processing companies that can supply various types of bone in different preparations (non-autogenous).

Grafting for implants can often be accomplished with bone that is non autogenous. The common procedures utilized are:

  • Socket preservation
  • Sinus lift
  • Onlay graft

All of these are used to increase the amount of bone in a previously extraction site.

Bone Graft Recovery and Healing

Once minor bone grafts have healed and vascularized, an implant can be placed. These bone graft procedures can be done in the office setting with local anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Recovery from swelling and pain is about one to two weeks; however, the bone that is added to the jaw will require four to six months to fully heal.

More advanced grafting requiring large amounts of bone are often autogenous (your own bone) grafts. These grafts are usually harvested from the patient in the operating room under general anesthesia. A graft of this nature is usually utilized for a jaw reconstructive procedure. For these advanced grafting, a full recovery of pain and swelling could take four to six weeks, and for complete bone-to-bone graft healing, the expected duration is six months.