Dental implants are an effective way to improve a person’s dental health and improve their smile. In order for a dental implant to be successful, however, the jawbone must have sufficient bone material to accept it. In some cases, the jaw height and width of the jawbone have decreased and are not able to support the implant and dental bone graft is necessary. Dental bone grafting creates a solid and secure foundation for the dental implants, ensuring their long term success. It can also keep future bone loss from happening.
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What Causes Bone Loss in the Jaw?
Bone loss is a common issue for people who have lost multiple teeth. Your jawbone is made stronger by the stimulus and pressure created when you chew your food. When a tooth is removed, the bone reabsorbs into the body and is not able to regenerate on its own. In fact, during the first year of a tooth extraction, 25% of the bone is lost and the bone loss continues unabated. Another common cause of dental bone loss is chronic periodontitis. In this case, bacteria makes its way into the jawbone and gradually eats it away causing teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.
What Is a Dental Bone Graft?
A dental bone graft is the process of transplanting bone into your jawbone to create a strong base for a dental implant. The grafting material can be taken from another place on your body, such as a hip. Very often, however, the bone is taken from another human, an animal, or it can be a synthetic substance. The material used may be a powder, putty, or gel that’s injected with a syringe. Over time, the bone graft acts as a scaffold for your body to build new bone upon.
Common Dental Bone Graft Materials
The most successful dental bone grafts come from one of four primary sources. You and your dental professional will work together to determine which source is best for you and your unique situation. For most people, the best type of bone grafting material is their own bone. Other sources include freeze-dried human bone, processed animal bone, and synthetic type bone material or mineral bone substitute.
This type of bone is taken from the patient’s hip, jaw, chin, or even the knee. It’s highly effective and safe, according to experts, because the bone is coming from the patient’s own body. Once the bone has been extracted, it’s shaped and inserted into the jawbone where the bone loss has happened. This type of bone grafting requires two separate surgeries to extract the bone and to graft it making it an expensive option.
This type of dental bone grafting material is sourced from human cadaver bone. The bone is freeze-dried and sterilized to preserve the material and to ensure its safety. The bone material is obtained from trusted tissue banks that specialize in collecting, preserving, and providing this type of material. As with autograft bone, this option is considered safe, but it is less expensive, making it a more affordable option for many patients.
One of the most common types of bone material used for dental bone grafts is bone sourced from cows. The reason for this is that the bones of cows actually integrate very well with human bones with very few complications. Much like the bone material from human cadavers, cow bone is sterilized, cleaned, freeze-dried and processed to ensure that it’s safe.
This type of dental bone graft doesn’t come from a human or animal source. Instead, it is derived from either a natural source like minerals, a synthetic man-made substance, or a combination of the two. Because alloplastic grafts integrate well with human bone and don’t require tissue to be harvested from the individual, a cadaver, or an animal, it’s often preferred by dentists.
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How Is a Dental Bone Graft Done?
Generally, the first step in the dental bone grafting procedure is a series of x-rays to inspect the jawbone. Sometimes, it’s necessary to perform a CT-scan, which is a 3-D x-ray to get a more detailed view of the jaw and to determine the extent of the bone loss. From there, your dental professional will determine which type of bone grafting material is most appropriate. If an autograft bone is to be used, a surgery will be performed to remove the bone and prepare it for grafting.
The dental bone grafting procedure is a minor surgery and is often performed in the dental office. The dentist will make an incision in the gum to access the bone beneath and insert the grafting material. The area may be sore for a few days, but the pain is usually easily managed with over-the-counter painkillers. Over the course of a few months, your body will replace the graft with new bone, giving your dental implants a solid structure to affix to.
How Much Does a Dental Bone Graft Cost?
The cost of a dental bone graft depends greatly upon the type of bone graft being performed. On average, however, the cost of a dental bone graft can be anywhere from $200 to $1,200 per graft. If an autograft bone is to be used, the cost will be substantially higher since it requires two surgeries, and sometimes a hospital stay. Dental insurance may cover the cost of the graft, but this is not always the case. If your insurance doesn’t cover the cost, your dental professional may offer a payment plan to make it more affordable.
If you would like to learn more about dental bone grafts, call Voss Dental at 713-322-8811 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our friendly, professional staff will perform a thorough dental examination and x-rays to determine whether a dental bone graft is right for you and which type of bone graft is most appropriate. We accept most PPO insurances and we also offer several flexible financing options for those with inadequate or no dental insurance.