Dental implants and bone grafting have largely replaced the other treatments for missing teeth. But not all patients can fulfill the criteria necessary for these dental wonders to restore your smile.
Undoubtedly, one of the essentials includes bone grafts for dental implants. You can go ahead to learn more!
Video Courtesy: Implants Guru
One common hindrance for many implant seekers is inadequate bone.
Nevertheless, bone grafting serves as a pragmatic solution and can be rejoicing while offering a lifetime guarantee with implants.
What Is a Bone Graft?
A ‘bone graft’ is a material used to augment the bone through a process called ‘bone grafting.’
Placing a bone graft for a dental implant allows the formation of new bone supporting it. 
Dental Implants are metal posts that are drilled inside the jaw bone.
And one essential requirement for their successful placement is the presence of a healthy and thick jawbone. 
Video Courtesy: Dr. Patrice Dagenais
Types of Bone Graft Materials
The different types of bone graft materials are:
Types of Bone Graft Materials
The graft bone is taken from the patient’s body (usually from the hip or the mouth).
Therefore it is considered the best bone graft material for placing a dental implant. 
- Comparatively low risk of disease.
- Negligible risk of bone rejection.
In these, the bone is harvested from animals, usually cows. It is then processed and made sterile and biocompatible.
Eventually, the animal bone filler is replaced by natural bone. 
Allograft bone is taken from human bone donors in the event of their death under the supervision of bone banks.
Finally, the bone is put through various tests and sterilization techniques to ensure that it is safe to be used as a graft. 
These are made from synthetic materials, usually, calcium phosphate, which mimics natural bone.
Over time these are reabsorbed into the body, encouraging natural bone growth. 
Sometimes grafts are also made from non-resorbable materials that act as a scaffold for natural bone.
Types of Bone Graft Surgery
Depending on the condition of the jawbone, three types of bone graft surgery are as follows:
- This type of bone graft for a dental implant is placed in the socket immediately after tooth extraction. 
- It fills in the missing tooth space to prevent the socket from collapsing.
- The jaw bone becomes thinner when teeth are missing in the mouth for a long time.
- It becomes challenging to place implants in this case.
- Thus, ridge augmentation is done to increase the width and volume of the jawbone. 
Sinus Lift Procedure
- There are two maxillary sinuses located just above the upper back teeth.
- Sometimes, missing upper back teeth can cause the sinuses to descend and take the space that the teeth roots once occupied.
- Placing a dental implant here could cause penetration of the sinus membrane.
- So, a sinus lift procedure can be performed to solve this issue.
- This repositions the sinus slightly higher. 
- A dental bone graft is then placed beneath the sinus, laying the groundwork for dental implants.
Cost of Bone Grafts
The dental implant cost is already an expensive one. Obviously, in patients who require an additional bone graft surgery, the costs will go up further higher.
Similarly, the cost of a bone graft in Costa Rica is only $575 per unit and in Mexico, it draws $400 from your wallet.
On the other hand, the US and Canada bone grafts are available for $800 and $1200 respectively.
Therefore, Americans and Canadians could seriously consider dental treatment abroad as it is more desirable and practical.
Cost of Bone Graft for Dental Implant (in USD)
|* Cost of bone graft per unit
*Prices are case-dependent.
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Bone Grafting and Dental Implants
Who Needs a Dental Bone Graft Placement?
Suppose your jaw bone is compromised due to tooth loss from:
- an extraction
- periodontal (gum) disease
- trauma, or developmental defects
In such cases, you will most probably need a bone graft placement. 
How Does a Bone Graft for Dental Implant Work?
The process involves the addition of a healthy bone or bone-like material to the jaw.
The added material stimulates the formation of natural bone around it and takes a few months to fuse with the existing bone, known as osseointegration.
Several procedures can be used for bone augmentation depending on the type, location, and number of implants.
Following a bone graft, a surgeon places a dental implant after 4-6 months. 
Why Does Tooth Loss Cause Bone Loss?
The alveolar bone holds the teeth in place and acts as a support.
Simultaneously, the tooth chewing forces also support and stimulate the jawbone.
When teeth go missing, the alveolar bone begins to deteriorate due to lack of stimulation.
Dental Bone Graft Procedure
Video Courtesy: Nirenblatt Orthodontics
Your dentist will perform a check-up of your teeth, gums, and jaw. An x-ray or tooth scan is done to determine the degree of bone loss.
After discussing treatment options with you, he creates a customized treatment plan to suit your needs.
Steps in a Dental Bone Graft Procedure
- The dentist starts by numbing the area with a local anesthetic.
- Then they make a small incision in your gums to them back slightly and make the jawbone visible.
- After cleaning the area, the dentist adds a bone graft to repair the defect.
- Lastly, he repositions the gums and closes the incision with a suture.
- Bone grafts are often covered with a membrane for added protection.
Source: PubMed Central 
After placement of a bone graft for a dental implant, typical side effects may include pain, swelling, and bruising.
These will generally subside in a few days.
Recovery After Bone Graft Procedures
The side effects will probably go away in a week or two, but complete healing of dental bone graft can take 3 to 9 months, sometimes longer. 
Recovery time depends on the type of graft, the site where it was inserted, and the body’s ability to heal.
Always follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions closely.
The risk for bone graft failure increases for chain smokers and those with chronic medical conditions. So, they need to be more careful.
When To Call a Doctor?
Following a dental bone graft surgery, check for warning signs. Contact your dentist if you have: 
- Severe pain
- Increased swelling
- Fever greater than 101°
- Pus around the injection site
Are Bone Grafts for Dental Implants Safe?
Yes, bone grafting for dental implants is a common and safe surgical procedure. 
But like with any other surgery, there is occasionally a chance of dental bone graft failure.
There are some common factors that increase the risk of bone graft failure. For example, 
- Periodontal disease
- Errors during surgery
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Compromised Immune system
- Osteoporosis (weak bones disease)
When Can I Chew on a Bone Graft?
You should take a soft diet for the first two days, avoid hot beverages, and chewing on the implant or bone graft site. 
You may resume regular food after 24-48 hours. 
A failed graft can be removed, and once the area has healed, the surgeon can replace it with a new graft.
Signs To Look Out for Dental Bone Graft Failure
Some common signs that indicate bone graft failure include: 
- Pus or fluid at the site of bone graft
- Gums pulling away from the teeth
- No visible increase in jawbone volume
- Jaw pain or swelling that worsens with time
Bone grafts act as an adjunct to support dental implants. Though they add up to your bills, they contribute to the longevity of implants as well.
For more details about the cost of bone grafts for dental implants, visit DentaVacation.
FAQs: Bone Graft for Dental Implants
Bone graft placement is a fairly routine and painless procedure that many people get.
The healing process may be slightly uncomfortable for some, but OTC medication can help with pain and swelling.
Your recovery could take anywhere from 2-3 months.
However, you should stay away from strenuous exercise for at least 6 months and keep the region around the bone graft clean and dry. 
People usually return to work or school the next day after getting a bone graft for a dental implant. 
But if you opt for sedation, you may need to stay at home for a day or two.
Bone grafts have achieved a remarkable success rate, with over 95% for autogenous grafts. 
Rarely the bone graft may fail in the mouth of chronic smokers or those with medical conditions.
A bone graft heals within 4 months to be able to support a dental implant fully. Therefore, dentists do not place bone grafts and implants simultaneously.