In order for dental implants to be successful, the jawbone must have enough bone to support the implant.  Thanks to advances in dental technology, we now have the ability to grow bone where needed. This enables us to place implants of proper length and width while restoring functionality and aesthetic appearance.

When Bone Grafts Are Needed

When teeth are lost as a result of periodontal (gum) disease, dental cavities, infections, injury, trauma or a defect in development, it can lead to bone loss over time. When there is not enough bone remaining to adequately support a dental implant, your periodontist will first recommend a bone graft to create enough bone to support the implant.  Bone grafts and membranes are also commonly used during tooth extractions when an implant is anticipated in the future.  This allows for an ideal site for the future implant placement to ensure long-term success.

The Procedure

There are many ways to perform a bone graft, and our Periodontist Dr. Brancheau will review and discuss with you the options to achieve the desired outcome.  The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.  Usually, “allograft” or cadaver bone from a bone bank is used, or “xenograft” which is bovine bone.  Occasionally, some of your own bone from the jaw may be mixed with cadaver or bovine bone.  The graft is carefully placed in the desired area of your jaw, and secured with a membrane and stitches.  It typically takes 4 to 6 months for the bone to fully heal and mature, then the area can be examined to make sure it is ready for dental implants.


After the procedure, recovery takes a few days and you will be given antibiotics, a rinse, and possibly a pain medication.  Rest and ice help the recovery to go faster, and most people only need to take a day or two off from work.  It is advised you follow a diet of soft foods.  Post-op instructions will be given to you in written form and reviewed verbally. Please contact Icon Dental Center to learn more about this treatment.

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