How does a bone graft work?

Dental bone grafts are performed in order to increase the amount of bone in the jaw or to improve support for an implant.


If you need a dental implant, it is possible that you may require a bone graft to ensure the success of the procedure. Without enough bone and soft tissue in the jaw and around the implant site, you may not be able to have dental implants placed. The bone grafting procedure helps to increase the amount of bone in an area of the jaw where bone has been lost. Read on to find out how the procedure works…

What is a bone graft?

A dental bone graft involves the harvesting of bone from other areas of the patient’s body (commonly from other areas of the jaw) and attaching it to the bone material in the jaw. In some cases, the patient’s own bone may be used together with other grafting materials in order to reduce additional deterioration. In complex and severe cases, bone may be harvested from other areas of the body, such as the hip.

Depending on the severity of your bone deterioration, the bone grafting procedure may be performed either under local or general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will make an incision in your gum and separate the bone from the area in which the graft will be placed. The bone material will then be placed between two areas of bone that will grow together over time. The bone graft will be secured in place with special surgical screws, or a dissolvable material. Your surgeon will then stitch the incision closed.

When is a bone graft recommended?

There are a number of reasons one might undergo a bone graft procedure. One of the most common situations in which the procedure is performed is when a patient needs a dental implant but has insufficient bone and soft tissue to support the restoration. Bone grafting helps to create a strong foundation for an implant and increases the chances of long-term implant success. A bone graft may also be necessary in the case of tooth loss or severe gum disease where bone loss is an issue. If you experience bone loss in the jaw, your nearby teeth and gum tissue can be affected, and a bone graft can help to stabilise the area and prevent further bone loss from occurring.

A bone graft can also be helpful for patients who have lost significant bone loss in the jaw, and who have noticed a change in their appearance as a result. A loss of bone mass in the jaw can cause the skin around the jaw to appear more wrinkled than before, while the lower jaw may appear to protrude.

What does the recovery involve?

Once your bone grafting procedure is complete, your surgeon will let you know how best to take care of the site of surgery. You may experience some pain and discomfort as you heal, and your surgeon will prescribe medications to help alleviate these symptoms.

You will need to eat soft foods for a few days following surgery, and it is best to avoid hot drinks as these can cause irritation in the mouth.

How can we help?

At OMFS, we offer bone and soft tissue grafting procedures, which are often completed before dental surgery. The procedures work by replacing missing bone and tissue so that implants can be successfully placed. In some cases, the grafting procedure may be completed at the same time as dental implant surgery. To find out more about our bone and soft tissue procedures at OMFS, please have a look here. If you would to make an appointment, please get in touch with us here.