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Bone Grafting and Dental Implants

Getting dental implants may also require getting a bone graft for some people. Bone graft surgery sounds like a scary thing, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. At Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, our professionals can work with you to make the process as smooth as possible.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is not always required for dental implants. But if your jawbone isn’t thick enough or if it’s too soft, a bone graft may be needed for successful dental implants. Bone grafts create a solid base for a dental implant. There are different options for bone grafts—could a natural bone graft where bone is taken from another location in your body. Or there is a synthetic bone graft, where a bone substitute is used. Depending on your situation, you will likely only need minor bone grafting. Your oral surgeon can discuss whether you need bone grafting and what it will look like.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a great way to replace a missing tooth in a very natural way. Usually, dental implant surgery is performed in stages. Firstly, the damaged tooth or teeth will need to be removed. Whether teeth have been lost or damaged due to decay, injury, or trauma—some bone loss has likely occurred. This can be dangerous, the bone around the jaw can start to deteriorate which will lead to whole other set of problems.

What the Procedure Looks Like

So, what does bone grafting look like? Bone grafting involves removing a piece of bone from another part of the body, or using synthetic bone, and transplanting it into the jawbone. Using a synthetic bone will save the patient from needing a second surgical site. It can take a few months for the transplant to grow and become strong enough to support the dental implant. The jawbone will need time to heal. Once healing is complete, an extension of the implant’s mental post—an abutment—can be placed into the jaw. The jaw will need time to heal again. Next, molds of the teeth and jawbone will be taken, and the final tooth (or teeth) will be inserted. To break it down in simple steps, it looks like this:

  • Discuss what an oral surgeon.
  • Damaged tooth is removed.
  • The jawbone is prepared for surgery.
  • A bone graft takes place.
  • The jawbone heals. There is a solid base for implants.
  • The dental implant is implanted.


After surgery, you should plan for some down time to heal. You will experience swelling in your gums and face, bruising of your skin and gums around the surgical site, pain at the implant site, and some minor bleeding. You’ll likely need some pain medications or possibly antibiotics to help with the healing process. You will need to eat soft foods while your mouth heals. There will also be stitches in your mouth—they may be the self-dissolving kind or the kind you need to have removed. If your symptoms are worsening instead of getting better, contact your oral surgeon. Your mouth may be vulnerable to infection.

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