What to Expect with Dental Bone Grafting

Dental Bone Graft: What to Expect

When there’s not enough bone to hold a dental implant, you’ll likely need a procedure known as bone grafting. It is a revolutionary method that gives you a long-term option to hold a dental implant. Bone grafting helps your jawbone redevelop its volume and density.

An example of why you may need bone grafting is losing your tooth to an infection or injury; such accidents can cause bone loss, preventing your jawbone from supporting a dental implant surgery.

You may be having many questions at this point. Let’s take a look at what a dental bone graft is and what you should expect from the procedure.

What Is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting essentially transplants synthetic or extracted bone to a missing area. The unavailable bone can result from an infection, surgery, or injury. Common sources of transplanted bone are from animals or a cadaver. They are the best material choices because they are less likely to cause complications for your dental implant. The dental bone graft integration is typically seamless.

Your bone area can take a few months or less to heal, depending on the size of the dental bone graft. The body needs some time to grow new bone tissues in and around the new graft. The formed bone is like the normal one you had in your body; it can support dental implants after healing.

Let’s see the relationship between bone grafts and dental implants.

How does bone graft for dental implant work?

Bone grafting for dental implants is a surgical procedure used to recreate the jawbone. A specialist cuts through your gum to reveal the bone and then adds grafting material. It is an integration that helps your body build a new part on the jawbone. With time the grafting material will disappear inside the bone as the body develops a new one.

You might be wondering about the source of the grafting material. It can be from;

• A human donor

• An animal’s bone

• A part of your body

• Synthetic protein

A dentist injects the material into the specific jawbone area using a syringe or instrument. The material can be a gel, granules, or powder. Bone grafting should not worry you because it is a predictable and painless routine for a dental implant. Complications are rare. You may need bone grafting in specific conditions that affect your jawbone, including;

• Bone loss caused by teeth removal

• Face injury

• Gum disease

• Development defects

After bone grafting, the dentist will leave it to heal. It will be ready for a tooth implant in about four to six months. Your dentist then inserts a metal post which is the first part of the dental implant. It is then left to heal. They will then add the top part of the tooth, which requires minor surgery.

The process takes time to prevent complications and let dental implant surgery heal well. You might experience minor bleeding, bruising, and gum swelling after surgery. These are normal reactions that should go away within a short time. You will also have diet restrictions at this point; you should eat soft foods until the tooth implant heals to avoid complications.

It would be best to find an experienced dentist for your procedure. Otherwise, you might experience complications that will lead to more complicated procedures to repair the bone loss. You will end up paying more trying to save on the front end. Do not settle for a short-term fix; your implant or tooth’s health is worth waiting for.

Types of Bone Graft

Bone grafts help the body develop new bone by integrating with the induced tissue. There are different sources, including natural and synthetic options. Each has its benefits and limitations. The types of bone grafts for dental implants include:

Allograft tissue

A dentist gets bone graft material from a cadaver bone or human donor. New bone goes through special screening processes as well as special treatments to remove diseases and immune reactions. The process is vital to keep bone grafts safe.

Its frequent use makes it reliable because it has many successful cases. The graft heals fast, reducing the risk of minor defects. Also, a significant part of the graft will transform into your bone.

Allograft tissue has its drawbacks, including the following:

• You will need extra procedures to heal significant defects.

• A part of the dental bone graft will not go away from your body for many years.

• It requires stimulants to enable the formation of new bone tissue.

Despite these limitations, it is still the most effective option compared to the other types of bone graft for dental implants.

Autograft tissue

In autograft tissue bone graft, you become your own donor. The bone graft material can be from the hip, shin, or chin. It is one of the best options because you are not at risk of disease transmission or an immune reaction.

The graft heals defects by itself, whether small or large. Its drawback is that you’ll have to heal on the harvest and graft sites. The two surgeries put you at a higher risk of infection, so your dentist has to approve whether it works for you.

Alloplast bone graft

It is a synthetic bone grafting material developed from hydroxyapatite. The mineral occurs in the bone. Synthetic grafts are easy to find and work for anyone. But, you won’t get a complete transformation of the bone. It also has a low ability to heal defects.

Xenograft tissue

Your dentist gets the bone grafting material from animal bone. A cow is a go-to source of material in most cases; its long-standing success often makes it a viable option. The implant placement will turn into your bone after some time. However, its limitation is a lack of advanced healing ability.

Sinus lift

This type of implant placement applies when you are missing a section of your molars or premolars of your upper teeth. It works to restore the position of your sinus to allow for enough room to insert a dental implant. Your dentist will place an implant in the space it creates.

Socket graft

It is the top proactive type of bone grafting procedure to prevent bone loss after a tooth extraction. For example, when your doctor uproots one of your teeth, they can graft bone in the socket or “hole”. Your jawbone will be ready for an immediate or future dental implant after 3-6 months of healing..

Block bone graft

Your dentist extracts bone tissue near the wisdom teeth at the end of the jawbone. Block bone grafting is not used much due to the advanced capabilities of grafting and new aged collagen membranes.


Growth factors are synthetic versions of occurring proteins in the body. They are;

• Collagen

• rhBMP-2 (recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2)

It is a newer version of bone grafts. Applications show that it is safe and produces predictable results. The graft works like any other by stimulating bone growth. But, only adults over 18 years old can use it.

When there is an active infection around the defect site, it won’t be useful. Also, it is out of bounds for patients with immune deficiencies and pregnant women. It requires more tests to make it safe for everyone.

Bone Graft Procedure Aftercare

When you get a dental bone graft procedure to reconstruct your jawbone, there are precautions to let it heal. During the first days, you might find sand-like granules in your mouth. Don’t panic; that’s the typical structure of the particulate bone. It will stop after a few days. You need these aftercare tips to help heal bone grafts.

Take your antibiotics

After bone grafting, you’ll get an antibiotics prescription. They will help you avoid infection around the grafted area. Take the full dose.

Maintain oral hygiene

Bone grafts require surgery, which leaves behind wounds. It means you have to maintain your oral hygiene. Here are some valuable tips you can use.

On the first day after surgery, avoid spitting and rinsing your mouth. It can remove the blood clot and membrane around the grafted area, which leads to slow healing and prolonged bleeding. Swallow saliva whenever possible.

Rinse your mouth with warm salt water during the first week. Do so every time you eat. Start brushing your teeth 48 hours after surgery, and be gentle while doing it. You can use an antibiotic mouthwash right after if your doctor decides it will be beneficial. Maintaining a clean wound will help it heal fast.

Avoid smoking

Keep away from smoking for two weeks after the bone grafting surgery. For one, smoking reduces blood supply to the site which slows healing. Smoking also increases heat inside the mouth which also has negative effects of healing quickly. Smoking will limit sinus augmentation and healing of the bone graft. You will have to go for more surgery when it fails.

Wear a night guard

Use a night guard when sleeping, but avoid tightening it around the grafted area. It can cause the covering membrane’s breakdown or wound ulceration. You might lose the graft, which will force you to redo the surgery. If your night guard feels uncomfortable 3 days after the procedure, consult your dentist.

How to control bleeding

You might experience slight bleeding after surgery. Don’t worry, it’s normal. First, avoid wiping away the blood and instead lightly rinse your mouth with warm salt water avoiding spitting afterwards. Place gauze over the grafted area and hold or bite for thirty minutes.

If you don’t have one, use a tea bag if bleeding continues and is profuse for more than 1 hour. Tea has tannic acid, which helps to stop bleeding. Avoid exercising, sit upright, and relax to avoid the risk of excess bleeding.

How to reduce swelling

Swelling is a typical reaction to surgery. It will be proportionate to the level of surgery. Affected areas can be your;

• Face

• Eyes

• Cheeks

• Mouth

• Gums

Swelling is an inflammatory reaction, but your body will self-repair within three days. It can be intense initially, and the pain will fade away after the first day. Use an ice pack around the swollen area to reduce the inflammation and pain. The swelling can persist for up to a week, but it should not scare you.


Take liquids on the first day after surgery. Avoid using straws. Instead, sip your liquids from glass or any other container. Only eat soft foods when necessary. Avoid chewing around the grafted area to prevent opening up the wound. Eat foods high in proteins and calories. Stay hydrated by taking at least five glasses of liquids daily. When you eat well, you’ll be stronger and give your body the chance to heal fast.

Pain Relief

Take pain relief medication as prescribed by your dentist. Get your prescription from your dentist. Pain and discomfort should go away within no time, but you should avoid alcoholic beverages and intense activities to reduce the risk of severe pain. If intense pain proceeds for more than 72 hours you should contact your dentist.


You might feel numbness around the tongue, chin, or lip, but don’t panic; it is temporary. If it lasts more than three days, consult your doctor. They will assess you to determine the issue and prescribe medicine to ease the numbness.

When to call your dentist

A bone graft is sensitive, and you might bruise it, or it can have certain healing complications. Most of the surgery’s side effects are temporary. Here’s a summary of the cases when you should consult your dentist for emergency dental care.

• Warm swelling a week after surgery

• Allergic reactions

• Non-stop bleeding

• Uncontrollable pain

• Intense fever

• Persistent numbness

Final Thoughts

If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation regarding dental implant surgery, jawbone loss, or bone grafting please don’t hesitate to call us (704-456-9611) or schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.