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What Is the Purpose of Bone Grafting?

Updated on December 9, 2009

For patients that are seeking out dental implants, they may go to the dentist and hear that they are going to have to have to undergo bone grafting before they are able to have their dental implants placed.  The obvious questions that follow involve what bone grafting is and the purpose of bone grafting.

What Is Bone Grafting?

Bone Grafting is the procedure of adding bone to an area of the mouth where it is missing. It can be used in any area of the mouth where it is needed.  When adding bone to a patient’s mouth, the dentist will use one of three types of bone: autogenous, allograft, or alloplasts.  Autogenous bone is bone that belongs to the patient receiving it.  Allograft bone refers to donor bone and alloplasts are synthetic bone substitutes. The dentist may use a combination of the above as well.

In conjunction with the bone, the dentist may add PRP, a healing agent that comes from your blood and is accessed through the IV.  The area will be closed off with either artificial collagen or donor membrane.

Primary Resource

We'd like to thank Dr. Lee Fitzgerald for serving as the primary resource for this article on hygiene for dental implants. Dr. Lee Fitzgerald's Dental Implant Center is located in Plano, TX, just north of Dallas. His office services patients from all over the metroplex and the southeast.

Why Is Bone Grafting Performed?

Bone grafting is performed for two reasons: to create enough bone for dental implants or to fill out bone deterioration under the gums. Bone creation is often needed when a patient has been without teeth for a while or for another reason has lost bone in the area where the implant will be placed. The dental implant will need the bone in order to hold it in place. If the bone grafting is to fill out the bone alone, the reason is generally cosmetic or for gum contour reasons.

Time Frame of Bone Grafting

Many times the dental implant can be placed at the same time the bone grafting surgery is performed. However, this will often depend on the facility that your dental implants and bone grafting are being conducted in and the size of the area that has to be grafted.

When bone grafting is done before the dental implant is placed, healing time for the bone to heal prior to having the implant placed can be from 4 to 6 months.


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