Bone Grafting for Dental Implants

Bone Grafting at Sarasota Dentistry

When you do not have enough bone in your jaw for dental implants, building more bone via bone grafting is the common solution. You may also be losing a tooth and need to preserve bone for a future dental implant. Sarasota Dentistry offers several bone grafting options to restore and maintain the natural shape of the patient’s gums and jaw prior to receiving dental implants.

5 Common Bone Grafting Procedures to Grow and Preserve Bone for Dental Implants

  • Vertical Ridge Augmentation
  • Horizontal Ridge Augmentation
  • Sinus Augmentation
  • Split Ridge Augmentation
  • Socket Grafting or Ridge Preservation Bone Graft

A patient who chooses one of these five bone grafting procedures can be properly prepared to receive dental implants that will restore their smile and/or fill in a gap from a missing tooth.

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    What is a Ridge Augmentation?

    RR1-Before-Bone-Grafting “Ridge augmentation” refers to a bone grafting procedure performed on the alveolar ridge which is the jawbone where teeth are anchored. When teeth are removed or trauma occurs, the bone can becom e narrow or short due to resorption. Narrow or short alveolar ridges can be too small for the placement of standard diameter dental implants and require ridge augmentation. Ridge augmentation can be used to successfully grow bone either vertically to gain height for dental implants or horizontally to gain width for dental implants. There are a number of proven techniques to accomplish this task with little to no pain. The procedures are usually done utilizing oral or I.V. Sedation so the patients don’t have to suffer. 3D technology, as well as, tissue engineering and advancements in biomaterials make these procedures much more tolerable and predictable than they were in the past. Patients suffering from insufficient bone now have a solution regain the foundation needed for dental implants in the alveolar ridge.

    Sinus Augmentation

    Sinus augmentation, also referred to as a sinus lift, is the third bone grafting option. It is important to note that there is a difference between the sinus augmentation and a sinus lift. A sinus lift is a procedure in which the floor of the sinus is pushed up trough the hole that was made for the dental implant. It is a fairly easy procedure that comes in handy when you only need a little more bone for a slightly longer implant. The alternative to the sinus lift might be a shorter dental implant. Sinus augmentation, on the other hand, is used to gain a large volume of bone in the molar and premolar region of the upper jaw. Bone loss in this region is common following the loss of teeth in the upper jaw. Usually a larger volume of bone is needed for dental implants in this region. Fortunately, the sinus augmentation is virtually painless and a very predictable technique for regaining the bone necessary for dental implants. Oral or IV sedation are available here at Sarasota Dentistry.


    Socket Graft or Ridge Preservation Bone Graft

    The simplest and most necessary bone graft of all is the “socket graft”. This procedure is done at the time of a tooth removal and is proven to preserve bone following the removal of a tooth. Bone will grow back following an extraction without a bone graft but not as much as with a socket graft at the time of the tooth removal. While the this ridge preservation procedure is usually always indicated to prepare the jaw for a dental implant, it is not always needed or wanted -especially if a dental implant is not going to replace the missing tooth. Socket grafting with PRF or platelet rich fibrin is also another way to enhance bone growth and help to prevent the dreaded “dry socket”. Socket grafting definitely reduces the risk of a “dry socket”. The team at Sarasota Dentistry can help you determine which procedure(s) are most appropriate for your case.

    Split Ridge Augmentation

    The “split ridge” augmentation or bone grafting procedure is used to widen a ridge that has sufficient height. It can be wonderful procedure if used correctly to widen the alveolar ridge. The alternative option would be a horizontal ridge augmentation. Three dimensional imaging and thorough evaluation of your bone and dental implant needs would dictate which procedure is most appropriate.

    Bone Grafting Materials

    Bone Graft Materials

    The types of materials used in vertical ridge, horizontal ridge, sinus augmentation, split ridge or socket grafting varies. Aside from choosing a range of bone or bone-like materials for grafting, other substances both natural and synthetic can aid the patient through the process. Many bone grafts are performed using bone from the patient’s own body (autografts). Excess bone is often harvested from the chin or lower jaw and is then added to the deficient area, which creates the scaffolding needed for dental implants. Bone may also be harvested from cadaver donors (allografts), or even animal bone sources (xenografts). Have a question about which type of bone graft is right for you? Call 941-929-7645 to set up an appointment and discuss your options with Sarasota Dentistry. Other materials may be combined with natural bone to enhance the graft. Gem21, PRF, and/or Infuse are common options that may be mixed with the natural bone and placed in the bone graft site, which is then stabilized with membranes, titanium meshes, tacks, and/or screws. The site must then heal for a period of months prior to the dental implant procedure. Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) may also be used; it is naturally harvested from the patient’s blood and used to fill the extraction site to accelerate healing and protect it from infection.

    Soft Tissue Grafting

    Gum disease, aggressive tooth brushing, and teeth grinding are all factors that can destroy gum tissue and contribute to sensitivity or an especially toothy smile. Sarasota Dentistry offers soft tissue grafting to improve your smile and reduce any pain and discomfort related to the loss of gum tissue.

    Soft tissue grafting uses gum tissue from your palate or from that of a donor, or specialized grafting materials that act as a scaffolding to support the growth of new gum tissue. Soft tissue grafts may cover exposed roots that make teeth appear too long or cover exposed roots that may be highly sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids. Soft tissue grafts may also be used to develop new gum tissue that may have receded or been lost due to plaque-related inflammation along the gum line.

    Patients who have soft tissue grafting with Sarasota Dentistry can benefit from having a more symmetrical gum line and improved smile, reduction of tooth sensitivity on behalf of exposed roots, and protection against future cavities and tooth decay.

    white tooth in gums

    Advantages of Bone Grafting


    Bone grafting via vertical ridge augmentation, horizontal ridge augmentation, sinus lifting, split ridge or socket grafting provides the patient with enough bone to receive dental implants. Following these procedures, their smile can then return to its beautiful, normal state, restoring the patient’s confidence and self-esteem. Aside from the aesthetic advantages, bone grafting also prevents further dental complications, as the added bone reinforces the jaw structure and prevents resorption from occurring.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a dental bone graft used for?
    Dental bone grafting is used to build up a section of the jaw bone that is too thin, soft or weak to support a dental implant. The procedure involves placing specialized bone grafting material into or onto the jaw bone, where it develops into a strong, stable base that can be used by dental implants to restore the functionality of the teeth and improve the appearance of the patient.
    What should I expect right after a dental bone graft?
    Immediately following the procedure you'll need to avoid touching the surgical site, rinsing your mouth vigorously or eating anything that could contaminate the wound. You'll also need to refrain from drinking through a straw or smoking, as the suction could interfere with blood clotting at bone graft site. You may need to keep a piece of surgical gauze over the treatment area, and that gauze may have to be replaced several times until post-operative bleeding stops. A cold compress is also advised for the first 24 hours to prevent swelling (20 minutes on and 20 minutes off). Oral anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprophen (Advil), Naproxen (Alieve), or prescriptions steroids such as Medrol Dose Pack or Decadron. Keeping the swelling down with cold compresses or medication are instrumental in preventing pain that could be associated with the bone grafting procedure. Your dentist will give you specific instructions based on the type of bone graft being performed.

    You should plan on taking at least a day off from work or school, and up to three days if your duties involve operating heavy machinery or other safety-sensitive tasks. If an advanced bone grafting procedure is being performed, you can expect swelling (even with medication and cold compresses) along with bruising. Swelling peaks at 72 hours so don’t be alarmed as the swelling worsens over the first 3 days. For advanced bone grafting procedures, don’t plan on any social events for at least two weeks since you may have significant bruising. Good news, the swelling and bruising are generally not accompanied by pain if medication is taken as directed.
    How long does it take for a dental bone graft to heal?
    The length of time it takes for a dental bone graft to fully heal varies with the type of bone graft procedure, the amount of bone loss to be treated, the type of grafting material used and the overall health and wellness of the patient. As people age the body naturally takes longer to recover, so older patients may experience longer recovery times than young adults do. Other factors such as systemic disease, vitamin D deficiency and medication history can play a significant role in the healing of a bone graft or dental implant.

    In most patients the bone graft will develop into a strong, stable bone within three to nine months, although, for larger graft sites it may take a year or longer to fully heal. Generally, implants can be placed in 3-9 months even in the larger grafts that may require a couple of extra months.
    How long does dental bone graft pain last?
    Following your dental bone grafting you may experience mild to moderate pain for several days once the anesthesia wears off, which usually occurs within four to six hours. There could be swelling and bruising around the treatment site that may develop up to 72 hours after the procedure, and you may feel pressure throughout your face and sinuses due to post-operative inflammation.

    While everyone experiences pain differently, in most cases patients are able to manage their discomfort with non-narcotic, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen. Your dental surgeon may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent painful infection following your dental bone graft.

    Although it can take several months for a dental bone graft to fully heal, most patients are pain-free within a few weeks or less.
    How much does a dental bone graft cost?
    There are a number of different dental bone grafting procedures that can be performed using different grafting materials - that's why there is a wide range of prices for dental bone grafting. Other factors that influence the cost of bone grafts are the size of the treatment site, the amount of time the procedure takes, and how much pre- and post-operative care the patient needs. Additionally, dental materials may be indicated to aid in the bone grafting process. These dental materials such as Infuse and Gem-21 are very expensive and thus leads to a more expensive procedure. The good news is that these products greatly enhance success. They also decrease the pain and cost associated with more invasive bone harvesting procedures that were required in the past when these products were not available.

    Pricing for dental bone grafts starts at approximately $300 to $800 per tooth or implant area and can go up to $2000 to $3000 per implant site. Keep in mind that these prices only refer to the cost of the bone grafting. Once the graft site is fully healed an implant can be placed, and the cost for implants is in addition to dental bone graft costs.

    Many dental insurance plans provide either partial or total coverage for bone grafting when the procedure is deemed to be medically-necessary. If the bone loss was caused by an accident or injury, other financing options may be available. Unfortunately, dental insurance generally has a maximum benefit of $1000 - $2000 per year so make sure you check your yearly maximum benefit. Also, if it’s a new policy, look out for pre-existing condition clause and wait period requirements.

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