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  • Writer's pictureSoong-Ryong Jung (David) , DDS, MS, PhD

Bone Grafting in Dental Implants

Bone Grafting in Dental Implants

When something is broken, people either learn to live with the damage or try to fix it. However, in the case of biological processes, that tends to get tricky. The body heals but the process can be slow, confusing or even outright impossible. So, what happens when something huge, like a bone, needs replacing? This is the problem that surgeons tend to come across when there is severe damage from blunt force trauma or rotting. Even dental surgeons struggle with it. This lead to the idea of bone grafting in the world of dental implants. Let's talk about what it is, how it works, and who would be eligible for it.

What is Bone Grafting?

A bone graft, by definition, is when the tissue of a bone gets moved from a healthy place to a place that needs repairing. This is common procedure for patients with multiple complex fractures, diseased joints, bone loss thanks to disease, and bones that need to heal around an implantation device. Interestingly enough, there are four types of bone grafting procedures that surgeons for a procedure. And, it is all based on where the bone tissue comes from.

· Allograft - When a person gets the bone tissue from a deceased donor. They do not have to be related genetically for it to work. This is common in hip, knee, and joint replacements.

· Autograft - When a person gets bone tissue from another part of their own body. This is if a transplant requires bone marrow or requires the same type of genetic donor situations.

· Xenograft - When a bone comes from an animal, usually a cow.

· Alloplast- When there is a creation of a bone with synthetic materials.

Each type of graft has advantages and disadvantages, and they are most likely going to depend on the severity and nature of the area that needs repairs.

What about the Gum Tissue?

If there is bone that is worn away, then it is safe to assume that there is probably some tissue damage in-between. That can cause some problems. Specifically, when the tissue That is where another procedure called guided tissue regeneration comes in. It works with the added application of mesh between growing gum tissue and the bone. This way, gum tissue won't grow where the bone should be growing.

This is something that might come up when a patient talks with their doctor about getting a bone graft. Especially if the damage is so extensive that there is a lot of empty space where the jaw should be.

The Procedure

According to, "It will take several months for the bone in need of a transplant to be ready for an implant. New bone growth will eventually replace the graft material. Sometimes a patient may only need minor bone grafting which can be done at the same time as the implant placement surgery."

So, if the condition is more severe, it will take a long time for the graft to properly hold the bone in place. Because if there is no solid foundation for the implants, then there would be no guarantee that they would last. So there is a chance if the damage is bad enough to need a bigger graft, a patient won't get implants until the graft is fully healed in place. That can take months.

If the damage is minor, however, the graft itself might be a small same day process. But that falls under the jurisdiction of the dental surgeon. A good dental surgeon will go over all the options and explain them instead of merely barreling ahead with the procedures.

The Cost

While the average cost of an implant ranges from location to the type of dental implants being done, the cost of a graft can often add to an already expensive bill. Typically, the cost of bone grafts will range between $2,000 to $3,000. While most health insurance companies will not cover implants with the idea of it being "cosmetic" it's different for grafts. If you can make the argument that grafts are necessary from a medical perspective, there is a good chance that they might be covered.

Sometimes, dentists will also combine the cost of the graft with the implant, or at the very least offer discounts. It depends on how the jaw damaged happens and how much it impacts your quality of life.

If you are looking for a good implant surgeon in the Plano, Texas area, visit

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