Dental Bone Graft Frequently Asked Questions - Savina Dental Clinics Malta and Gozo

If you are looking to get dental implants, you may require bone grafting. While the term may sound unnerving and a little scary, a dental bone graft is a fairly small surgical procedure that is done within a single dentist visit.

What is bone grafting?

Bone grafting is a dental surgical procedure that adds bone through the transplantation of bone tissues to provide structural support to your jaw. The bone material used can be taken from any part of the patient’s body, if necessary, or treated bovine bone that is rendered fit for medical use in humans is applied.  This is surgically infused into the affected area. As the natural jaw bone grows, it integrates with the graft material, resulting in a fully integrated region of new bone. Synthetic bone granules are very commonly used nowadays.

When is bone grafting necessary?

A bone graft is necessary when you need to repair or rebuild jaw bone fractures or replace bone loss. The deficiency of natural bone can be caused by:

  • Untreated gum disease
  • Extracted or Missing teeth
  • Development defects
  • Ageing
  • Face injury or trauma to the jaw

Who is a candidate for bone grafts?

You may be a good candidate for a dental bone graft if:

You have suffered facial trauma

A blow to the face can result in the deterioration of the jawbone. This calls for a bone graft to restore the strength of your jaw bone.

You need dental implants

Missing teeth lead to the loss of jawbone through resorption. Replacement of the missing tooth may be done by placing an implant-supported crown, however, implants require sufficient surrounding bone for adequate support. If the bone in the region has resorbed greatly, a graft is often required. To restore the structure of the jawbone, patients need to undergo dental implants.

Tooth loss or gum disease

A dental bone graft is also highly recommended for patients who have lost their adult teeth or those with gum disease. Both of these conditions lead to the deterioration of the jaw bone. A bone graft helps to stabilize the jaw, preventing further bone loss.

Bone deterioration

The loss of bone mass due to age or sickness can change your facial profile. A bone graft helps to restore lost bone, giving you a healthy bone structure.

Looking for a dentist in Malta or have any dental implant or bone graft related questions? You can book an appointment online or contact us directly on (+356) 2125 7253 (Skyparks Business Centre, Malta International Airport), or (+356) 2155 7323 (Dingli Street, Victoria, Gozo). For international patients, it is recommended to request a free e-consultation where we can discuss your individual case and treatment options.

Types of bone grafting material

There are several types of bone grafting material. The type used will depend on the extent of damage as well as the location of treatment.

Autografts

Autografts involve the use of bone from the patient’s body. An autograft is highly effective in increasing bone support in the jaw and was considered the gold standard bone grafting material by dental practitioners. It promotes faster healing and new bone formation and is much less likely to be rejected. However, it does necessitate a second surgical site and another instance of wound healing so other grafting materials have been developed

Allografts

Allografts use bone from a different person, treated for safe use in others. Human bone is nowadays used less and less

Xenografts

This procedure uses bone from another species such as a goat, cow, or coral.

Alloplasts

This treatment involves the use of synthetic materials that contain natural nutrients.

Ceramic-based grafts

These grafts are made from ceramic material or a combination of other material.

Preparing for a dental bone graft

Talk to your dental practitioner about how to prepare for the surgery. Also, make sure to inform them about any problems that you might have, allergies and any medication you might be taking, including over-the-counter medicines like aspirin.

Steps involved in a dental bone graft procedure

The typical procedure for getting a dental bone graft include;

Anaesthesia

Your dentist will administer anaesthesia to ensure you feel no pain or discomfort during the procedure. They will also monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure.

Extraction/ bone sourcing

If you opt for an autograft, the dentist will start by sourcing the bone from the chosen location.

Graft insertion

The dentist will proceed to clean the affected area. They will then make a cut in the gum to create space for the graft. They will insert the graft between two parts of the bone that needs to bind together. They will then secure the bone graft with special screws if a block bone graft is being used  or dissolvable adhesive or protective material such as collagen

Stitching

Finally, the dentist will sew up the incision to allow it to heal.

Recovery

After the dental bone graft procedure is complete, your dentist gives you some instructions on when to change the dressing and a prescription for antibiotics to help prevent infections. They may also prescribe pain relievers.

After a week, any discomfort should subside. However, it will take you a few more months before your jaw is strong and completely healed.

Make sure to visit your dentist periodically after the procedure and get some X-rays done to check how your jaw is healing.

Is dental bone graft costly?

The cost of dental bone graft can vary considerably depending on the materials used and the complexity of the procedure. Indicative pricing can be found here or contact us to book a consultation.

Risks associated with bone grafting

Although a dental bone graft procedure is generally safe, it does have some risks, including;

  • Bleeding
  • Pain and swelling
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Failed grafting
  • Complications from anaesthesia

Alternatives for bone grafting

If you are not an ideal candidate for a bone graft, there are other ways to build bone in your mouth and support dental implants. These procedures include:

Ridge expansion

This is a surgical procedure that involves dividing the jaw into two parts- the inner and outer sections to create a space to insert bone graft material. Over time, this leads to the growth of a new bone and a wider jaw to support dental implants.

Sinus lift

This procedure involves lifting the sinus floor to increase the bone’s height to support the placement of dental implants.

Distraction osteogenesis

This is a dental procedure that makes a shorter jaw bone longer by cutting it into two pieces and slowly pulling them apart using a distractor. This encourages new bone to form and fill the space.

Alveolar ridge preservation

This surgical procedure is undertaken immediately after a tooth extraction to reduce bone loss. It involves the placement of a bone substitute in the socket to limit ridge reduction and maximize bone formation in the gap.

Conclusion

Although a dental bone graft is a standard surgical procedure, it is critical to understand the risks and complications associated with the treatment. Otherwise, bone grafts are an excellent option for patients looking to get dental implants.

Have You Tried Our Free e-Consultation Service?

If you are worried about a dental related issue, interested in travelling to Malta for a dental holiday or have questions about any of the treatments we offer, please contact us using our new free e-Consultation service. One of our highly-qualified team will respond to your query as soon as possible. Our e-Consultation service is live 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday.

If you would like to schedule an in-person consultation at Savina Dental, please book your appointment using this form.

Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.