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An Overview of Bone Grafts for Dental Implants

Bone grafting is a procedure that maxillofacial surgeons perform often, usually in preparation for dental implant placement. While this is a fairly routine operation, some patients may feel apprehensive about it.

Are you in need of a bone graft and looking for more details about the surgery? Here’s everything you need to know about the procedure.

Why do a dental bone graft before placing an implant?

For an implant to be placed, the bone structure of the jaw must be strong and dense enough to support it. Some patients have a jawbone that is either too soft or has deteriorated because one or more teeth have been missing for a long time.

These patients need a bone graft to reinforce the jaw before a dental implant can be placed. Although the operation prolongs the process, it maximizes the chances of the implant placement being a success.

How is a bone graft performed?

First, the maxillofacial surgeon will take a 3D x-ray of the patient’s mouth to assess the state of their bone structure and determine whether a bone graft is necessary. The surgeon will also examine the patient to pinpoint areas where the volume or density of the bone has deteriorated. They will then prepare a plan for the surgery.

Just before the operation, the patient will be given local anaesthetic to prevent them from feeling anything during the procedure.

The surgery involves the following steps:

  • The surgeon makes an incision in the gum to prepare the affected area to receive the graft.
  • The graft is either harvested from another area of the patient’s mouth or obtained from a different source.
  • The graft is placed in the appropriate location.
  • The graft is then covered with a synthetic membrane to protect the wound from bacteria and the incision is closed with stitches.

The implant can only be placed several weeks after the procedure is over, because the bone needs time to heal and accept the graft.

Where does the graft come from?

We often get asked where the graft that’s used to reinforce the bone comes from.

There are a few different types of bone grafts. Grafts can be harvested from the patient’s mouth or another part of their body. Other options include synthetic grafts and animal donors.

The maxillofacial surgeon will determine which option is best for the dental bone graft based on the patient’s situation.

What is the recovery process like after surgery?

After a dental bone graft, it’s normal for patients to experience some pain and temporary side effects. However, the surgeon will give the patient information and advice to help them heal and minimize the pain. Analgesic medication will be prescribed, and antibiotics may be as well.

After the graft, the affected area may become swollen. You can try to manage the swelling with cold compresses in the 24 to 48 hours following the surgery.

For more in-depth advice on recovering from maxillofacial surgery, take a look at our post-operative instructions.

Can there be complications after a bone graft?

Dental bone grafts have an excellent success rate (around 95%). However, as with all types of surgery, there is a small chance that the patient will experience complications, such as infection or graft rejection.

It’s important to practice impeccable oral hygiene before and after surgery in order to prevent such complications. Patients are also strongly advised to stop smoking in the weeks before surgery, because smoking can slow your recovery. Last but not least, it’s important to follow your maxillofacial surgeon’s post-operative instructions for best results.

Are dental bone grafts covered by insurance in Quebec?

Generally speaking, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) does not cover bone grafts performed in private clinics. However, some personal insurance plans will cover the cost of a bone graft.

If you aren’t sure whether your insurance will cover part of the cost, Clinique Evoro can help you prepare a claim.

Dental bone grafts at Clinique Evoro

A bone graft may be needed in order to place one or more dental implants. The procedure strengthens the jawbone or increases its volume so that it is able to support the implant.

The surgery is performed under local anaesthetic and may include intravenous sedation so that the patient feels nothing during the procedure. Once the graft is complete, the surgeon will give the patient detailed post-operative instructions to follow in order to maximize the chances of the procedure being a success.

At Clinique Evoro, we use state-of-the-art technology and proven techniques to provide optimal maxillofacial surgery services. If you’re looking for a bone graft and dental implant specialist in Gatineau, don’t hesitate to make an appointment!