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Medically Reviewed by Lisa A. Turner, DDS, MSD

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure to fill in gaps in the jawbone. Bone can be taken from another site in the body and transplanted into an area that has insufficient or damaged bone. The purpose of this surgery is to replace the lost bone structure and restore function so the facial bones can properly support dental implants, restorations (crowns, bridges), and orthodontic appliances.

Why might I need bone grafting?

Bone grafting is necessary when a patient has lost bone due to periodontal disease, trauma, prior tooth extraction, or an underlying condition such as osteoporosis. Without replacing the lost jawbone tissue, it is not possible to restore teeth and gain optimal oral function. In addition to dental implants, grafting may be required before you can get other implant restorations such as bridges and dentures or before orthodontic treatment.

Who performs a bone grafting procedure?  

Periodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in the placement of dental implants, restorations, and movement of teeth with orthodontic appliances. Both specialties require advanced training and additional years of study after graduation from dental school.

What should I expect during the bone grafting procedure?

The doctor will numb the area and create a small opening in the gums and into the bone that is to be replaced. If more than one bone grafting procedure is required, the doctor might refer you to a specialist for future procedures. To place the bone graft, your doctor may use a natural or synthetic material that is molded into the shape of the area to be replaced. Depending on how much bone you need and where it comes from, the doctor will make an incision either in your mouth (inside of your cheek) or under (outside of) your chin.

Once the graft is in place, the doctor will stitch it to the surrounding tissues so that blood vessels can grow into the graft. The area is then closed with stitches or surgical staples, which are removed at a follow-up visit within 7-14 days.

What should I expect after surgery?

You should plan to take it easy for several days following bone grafting surgery. You may experience minor discomfort and bleeding but should be able to resume normal activities within a few days. If you are taking pain medication, it is important not to drive or operate machinery until the effects have worn off.

The bone grafting procedure usually takes less than an hour to complete. However, your doctor will review all of the risks and benefits with you beforehand. The bone grafting procedure can take several months before it fully heals, so be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully.

Get your smile back by scheduling an appointment today at Venice Periodontics! Call us at 941-497-5591 or contact us online.