Bone Graft for Dental Implants
Bone graft is a procedure that is required in cases where you have insufficient bone volume to receive a dental implant. These bone defects or bone deficiencies can be found in 25% of people with missing teeth. Having sufficient bone mass and a stable implant is critical for long term (years upon years) of success!
When is Bone Graft surgery necessary?
Bone grafts are normally used re-establish enough bone to support implants!
Generally, you’ll need 2 mm of healthy, living bone in front and behind your implants. For example, if your implant is 3mm you’ll need (2+2+3), or a total of 7 mm of bone mass. If you’ve had teeth missing for some time and your bone has atrophied to less than the recommended 7 mm, a bone graft will be required. By receiving a stable bone graft the bone replacement and growth that evolves will ensure the longevity and stability of your dental implant(s).
If you’ve been missing teeth since you were a teenager, you probably won’t have the minimum amount of healthy bone mass needed to support a stable implant!
About The Process and Technology
There are many types of bone grafting material’s which are generally broken down into two categories, those originating from a jar or from your body. Grafts from a jar means that bone material is manufactured in a special process where granulated biomaterials evolve, to act as the scaffold for new bone to form. These biomaterials can come from a human donor (cadaver or limb amputation), from a cow (bovine), or man-made like the derivatives of calcium phosphate material from coral shells.
The bone graft attaches when a buildup of bio-compatible or donor material is placed in the areas of missing bone. The idea and intention being for the material to stimulate or trigger your own cells to start rebuilding bone mass. Over time, these cells will transform the bone grafting material into your own naturally functioning bone. The use of processed bone biomaterials from a jar has been well documented in clinical trials and has an excellent safety and effectiveness record. However, these biological materials vary immensely and therefore using the wrong technique with the correct material can lead to rejection.
Your own body is another source where we can extract bone material for use in the bone grafting process.
These donor sites of choice are from the hip, chin and many other sites in the mouth, including the palate and back of the upper jaw. Generally we strive to minimize using new donor sites and use specialized instruments to extract bone near the areas we are working.
Having some of your own bone is the gold standard because it quickly stimulates your body to form new bone. To tell it like it is, taking bone from the chin or back of your mouth can be painful, you’ll have more swelling and discomfort than using bone from a jar. The bottom line is this, we must make our decision on what method and material is going to be the best for the long term health of your implant.
To minimize any physical discomfort or emotional distress that arises during the bone grafting process, Westcoast International Dental Clinic (WIC) is equipped to administer local anesthesia. After surgery you may experience some soreness in the treated area, which can be remediated easily with pain relievers or the application of an ice pack.
Procedure and Recovery
Complex treatments like bone grafting may involve more than a single visit, especially if your particular oral situation is compromised. Therefore, it’s vital that prior to engaging in any treatment process, you schedule an initial examination and consultation with your dentist to learn about the procedure. After your specific case has been reviewed and analyzed, you’ll be presented a recommended and highly detailed treatment plan and cost breakdown. There will be no additional fees or special hidden costs once your treatment plan has been properly diagnosed, designed and presented.
Managing your discomfort after bone grafting surgery:
It’s a fact, you will experience some discomfort with any oral surgery procedure and the same is true for bone grafts, however, in most cases it will feel no worse than having a tooth removed.
Some patients will have some post op soreness or discomfort which can usually be managed with aspirin, ibuprofen or a prescription pain medication.
Bone grafting procedures normally cause facial swelling, which usually accelerates within a few days post op and then subsides within 7 days or less thereafter. In order to keep swelling and inflammation under control, it’s prudent to ice repeatedly for a couple of days after your treatment. This self-care routine will help stop bleeding and stimulate your healing process by restricting the circulation of blood to your gum tissues. The use and placement of ice packs as stated will also help reduce the chances of a bone graft failure or implant rejection.
What about eating post-op a bone graft procedure?
What you’ll be able to eat the first few days after your bone grafting surgery will depend on the complexity of the procedure. Some patients should be placed on a cold diet while others will be limited to warm soft foods.
When a modified cold diet is recommended after your surgery the following food-drinks will be allowed: Chilled blended soups or other thoroughly blended cold foods (that don’t require chewing), fruit or veggie smoothies, milkshakes, juices or other healthy beverages.
When a modified soft food diet is recommended after your surgery, the following soft foods will be allowed: Cooked cereals, scrambled eggs, pureed fruits, pudding, mashed potatoes.
Common restrictions and advice for recovering bone graft patients
- If you recently completed a bone grafting procedure it’s best to sleep on your back with your head raised, elevating your head on a pillow will help keep inflammation down. In addition, this will help reduce the amount of blood that naturally flows and collects near the graft site, this proactive combination will stimulate a quicker recovery. If it’s difficult or you physically aren’t able to sleep on your back, please make sure you don’t sleep on the bone graft side of your face.
- For the first 48 – 72 hours after surgery it’s mandatory that you refrain from rigorous activity, as too much exertion can disrupt the graft site or open your stitches. When you start feeling more like your normal self, feel free to slowly but surely resume your regular activities.
The recovery process may take up to 6 months in order for your new bone to heal completely, it’s essential that it becomes stable prior to the placement of your implants.
- During this healing cycle you’ll need rest, good nutrition and must practice excellent home hygiene care in order to realize an optimal recovery.
- In order for bone growth to occur it requires time and a strong, healthy body to activate the biological process.
The ultimate goal to create the necessary support for your implants to function naturally, to look great and to last a lifetime has a good chance of occurring if you follow the stated recommendations.
No grafts needed when using short implants and mini implant options: At WIC we prefer to avoid bone grafts if possible
The decision to move forward with a bone graft procedure or not, depends on your long term plan.
It imperative for the success of your implants 20 years from now, that your bone and gums are healthy when you start the process and remain that way.
Short implants have shown good success! The standard height was 10mm and is now 8mm, 6mm or less is considered a mini implant. Splinting narrow or short implants is another treatment possibility to avoid the need for a bone graft.
Mini implants which are less than 3mm wide have some valid applications, usually as a final option in the case of circumventing a bone graft procedure. Unfortunately, there use is still plagued with high failure and rejection rates.
New advances such as the Pro-Arch, full arch implant restorations or the well-known all on 4 or all on 6 dental restorations are options that can prevent the need for a bone grafting treatment. These high quality and minimally invasive, solutions are provided with the utmost care and precision in Vietnam at the WIC.
If you’ve been told you need a bone graft to support your implant, try not to fret! There are a lot of new high tech procedures and techniques that provide a gentler experience. You are only going to do it once (THAT’S THE GOAL) so we hope you do enough research and receive good advice to insure it’s done right.
If you are in HCM City or Hanoi and need clear, professional and experienced advice about bone grafts, feel free to stop by one of the WIC’s 4 convenient locations.
If you live out of the area and cannot visit our clinic prior to your treatment, we will require you email us a full series of your recent X-rays from your local dentist. This is mandatory for us to evaluate your case and provide you with a tentative treatment plan and estimated cost breakdown. This of course would be in lieu of a preferred, comprehensive personal examination and consultation.
We’ll respond to you promptly, and will gladly answer your questions in support of your due diligence efforts.