Bone Grafting 101: What You Need to Know

Has your oral surgeon recommended bone grafting? The procedure is incredibly common — and much less scary than you may think.

Knowledge is power, as the proverb goes. Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we’ve found that when patients learn more about bone grafting, it helps put them at ease. Our goal is to ensure that our patients have all the information they need to make informed choices about their treatment plans, and we’re always here to answer your questions.

Bone Grafting 101

As for bone grafting, oral surgeons routinely perform this quick, simple procedure in advance of placing dental implants. In fact, with our many options for oral sedatives, the procedure is over before you know it.

What Is Bone Grafting

Bone graft surgery is a routine, in-office procedure that improves jawbone health through the use of transplanted tissue. Grafting guides the body’s healing mechanisms and stimulates growth in the jawbone.

During surgery — which is typically completed under oral sedation, IV sedation or laughing gas — the oral surgeon places bone tissue to augment the jawbone. In most cases, the procedure takes just an hour or two.

Types of Bone Grafts

Oral surgeons use four types of grafting material in patients with jawbone degeneration. These include:

  • Autografts — Tissue harvested from the patient’s own body
  • Allografts — Human bone sourced from a tissue bank
  • Xenografts — Biocompatible cow or pig tissue
  • Alloplasts — Synthetic tissue created with biocompatible resins

In choosing a bone grafting material to use, oral surgeons consider the individual needs and preferences of the patient. While certain types of grafts are generally recommended over others, patients are given significant input into the decision.

When Is Bone Grafting Necessary?

Bone graft surgery is considered for patients with jawbone atrophy, or degeneration in the jaw. This naturally occurs as a result of aging, and certain inflammatory and degenerative diseases can diminish the jawbone. Often, however, tooth loss is the cause of atrophy. When teeth are missing, the jaw lacks the root stimulation it needs to stay healthy and strong.

Jawbone health may not seem like a crucial concern, but oral surgeons have several good reasons to recommend bone graft surgery.

Grafting is often advised to prevent future tooth loss and jawbone degeneration, and the procedure is often a must to prepare for dental implant surgery. Grafts are also performed to maintain a youthful facial appearance.

What Is Bone Grafting Recovery Like?

Recovering from bone graft surgery is, in most cases, quite similar to healing from a tooth extraction.

The amount of time it takes to fully recover varies, depending upon the specifics of the oral surgery. However, most grafts only result in a day or two of mild swelling and redness along with minor aches and discomfort. Ice packs, pain medication and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are typically enough to manage these symptoms, and patients who follow our detailed aftercare instructions rarely experience complications.

Are you still feeling uneasy about your upcoming bone graft surgery? Schedule your procedure with Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah — our board-certified oral surgeons perform bone grafts every day, so you can trust that you’ll be in good hands.

In addition, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah offers a range of sedation and anesthesia options to keep you relaxed, comfortable and pain-free during bone graft surgery. We’re known throughout the greater Salt Lake City area for our compassionate care and our commitment to giving every patient a positive oral surgery experience.

For more information, or to schedule a bone grafting consultation, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.