Simply hearing the words “bone grafting” is enough to scare some patients, just as the thought of having a root canal makes some shudder.
Consequently, the news that you need bone grafting may seem frightening. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry, because the procedure is not at all scary or painful.
Understanding how the grafting process works and why it’s important for successful dental implants can help to ease your fears.
Bone Grafting Is a Routine Oral Surgery Procedure
Decades ago, bone graft procedures were complicated, hospital-based surgeries. Today, however, grafting is minimally invasive and can be performed right here in our office.
And because grafting is quite common, particularly before getting dental implants, our surgeons complete dozens of bone grafts every month.
Grafting is an outpatient procedure, so no hospital stay is necessary. You may need treatment for gum disease or tooth decay prior to having a graft, and any damaged teeth must be addressed. Placing the graft material, however, takes just a short time.
You’ll be done and on your way back home in just an hour or two, in most cases.
Bone Grafting Doesn’t Require Harvesting Your Bone
Years ago, the only material used for grafts was a patient’s own bone. So before having a graft, patients had to undergo surgery to harvest tissue from another part of their body, such as the leg or hip.
While using your own tissue for a graft is still an option, it’s not the only option any longer. Today, a variety of graft materials are available.
Natural human bone from a tissue bank, known as an allograft, may be used. Or our oral surgeons can transplant a xenograft, which is harvested cow bone, or an alloplastic graft, made from synthetic materials.
If a large graft is necessary, we may discuss the possibility of using your own bone tissue. However, this requirement is uncommon in most cases.
Ensuring a Comfortable Recovery from Bone Grafting
For many of our patients, one of the biggest concerns about bone grafting is the recovery period, and whether they will experience discomfort.
Recovery time can vary, of course, depending upon the type of grafting procedure that we use. However, grafts usually cause no more discomfort than having a tooth extracted.
You may experience some minor aching for a day or so, along with some swelling and redness. These symptoms can be managed easily with ice packs and pain medication, or the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Of course, we will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions. When you follow these recommendations, you shouldn’t have any complications or problems after your bone graft surgery.
If you’re still feeling nervous about your procedure, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah offers several sedation and anesthesia options to make you more comfortable. Contact one of our three Salt Lake City, Utah, area offices today to schedule a consultation, and learn more about bone grafting for dental implants.