How Does Bone Grafting Work?

The future of teeth.

If you have a missing tooth, it can be difficult to chew or even speak properly. A dental implant can replace your missing tooth while enhancing the appearance of your smile. Dental implants are strong, easy to care for, and aesthetically pleasing.


However, in order to create a strong foundation, you need plenty of healthy jaw bone so the titanium post can fuse properly with your bone. If you don’t have enough jaw bone, you’re not out of the running for a dental implant. A bone graft can give your jaw bone the boost it needs to receive an implant. 


At Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery, our skilled providers know that dental implants can give you back a healthy smile. That’s why we are proud to offer both sinus lifts and bone grafts.


Curious about bone grafting? Here’s how it works.

What is a bone graft?

A bone graft is a surgical procedure in which transplanted bone material is used to repair and strengthen your own bone. There are three types of bone grafts, and depending on which type of bone graft material you need, the process is a little bit different. 


During an autogenous bone graft — remember “auto” means “self” — part of your own bone is grafted to your jaw bone. This is a two-part surgery and this is how it works: 



Because your own bone is used, these types of bone grafts are typically well-received. The live bone stimulates bone growth in your jaw, which improves the width and depth of your bone.


Allogenic bone grafts do not require two surgeries. During your bone graft surgery, a piece of bone material is placed in your jaw. This material is from a donor and, unlike the autogenous bone grafts, does not contain live bone cells. Your natural bone uses the donor bone material as a foundation for healthy bone growth.


The process for a xenogenic bone graft is similar to the allogenic bone graft because there is only a need for one surgery. Xenogenic bone material — which comes from a pig or cow bone — does not contain live cells. This is how the process works: 



Synthetic bone graft materials are also available. The process is very similar and only requires one surgery. Regardless of which type of graft you need, the final step is the same for each option: you must wait a few months for your bone to regenerate.

When do you need a bone graft?

There are many reasons why you might need a bone graft, including: 



If you need a bone graft, you’re not alone. Bone grafting is very common and can make a big difference when it comes to the success of a dental implant. According to a study published in the journal Maxillofacial Facial and Reconstructive Surgery, over 55% of patients in their 60’s required a bone graft.

Could you benefit from a bone graft?

If you have missing teeth, a dental implant can restore the function and health of your mouth. Whether you need a simple bone graft or a sinus lift and graft, we can help you learn about all of your options. 

Ready to learn more? We’re just a click away! To schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient Virginia locations, call the clinic of your choice, or request an appointment online.

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