Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that replaces missing bone with material from the patient's own body or an artificial, synthetic, or natural substitute. Bone grafting is used to repair bone fractures that are extremely complex, pose a significant health risk to the patient, or fail to heal properly.
Usually dental bone grafts are done if there is bone missing in the jaw or there bone mass is low in height or width. A dental bone graft is deemed as a necessity when the jaw bone does not have sufficient bone to support and stabilize the dental implants. Usually the bone mass in the jaw can get reduced in height or width due to missing teeth, trauma to the bone, periodontal disease or genetics.
Typically for dental bone grafts, three types of materials are used. One is autograft, wherein the bone is taken from the patient's own mouth. Here the doctor harvests and then introduces it into the area where the bone graft is required. The second type of bone graft is known as an allograft where synthetic bone is used after it is mixed with the patient's blood to promote bone growth. And the last type of bone graft is the xenograft where a bone is taken from a cow and used to promote bone growth in the required area of the jaw.
Once the dental bone graft is introduced into the jaw region, it is covered by a membrane. This is done to ensure that the bone graft stays in place. In addition, the membrane also stops the surrounding soft tissue from growing onto the graft. The surgical site is then sutured, and the patient is allowed to go home.
A dental bone grafting procedure is carried out under anesthesia. While during the procedure the patient will not feel any pain, once the anesthesia wears off, the surgery site will be painful. In order to help with the pain, the dental surgeon will prescribe painkillers, and also antibiotics to ward off any infection.