If the goal for your dental implant surgery is to have comfortable, functioning teeth, then you will have to have enough jawbone to support your implants.
If you have bone that isn’t wide enough, tall enough, or dense enough, a dental bone graft might be necessary in order to get a stronger foundation for the implant.
Bone grafting? what kind of material do we use? How much does it cost, and how is it performed? let’s find out.
Dental Bone augmentation or Dental bone grafting is the process that adds, rebuilds or replaces the bone in your jaw using other pieces of bone or bone like materials.
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The goal is to create the strength that implants need. Dental grafts can be quite simple, like when you only need to put a small piece of bone beside an implant to more difficult grafts, like changing the size or shape of the dental ridge.
Smaller grafts can actually be done during surgery, while any of the more extensive procedure need to be done by an oral surgeon, prosthodontist, or periodontist. Usually, you may need quite a few months to recover before you can continue any dental implant procedure.
Why might you not have an adequate amount of bone?
Well that is usually the case if you have experienced any trauma, infections, abscesses, or periodontal disease or if you have been missing teeth for a long time, the density can also go down naturally.
Sources of Bone Graft Material
When you are going in for a dental bone graft, there are four different materials that they can use for the augmentation.
In order from most effective to least effective, you may find :
1. Your Own Bone
Using your own bone is the safest and most effective way because it integrates easily into your system and there is no chance of infection disease, tissue rejection, or contamination.
Dentists will usually harvest bone from your chin or jaw, but they can also go into your shin or hip. Of course, some people don’t like this option because it would require two surgeries, one to extract some bone if your shin or hip area and one to implant the graft. It would require additional anesthesia, and you would have to stay in the hospital. In other words, it would cost you more money…
2. Human Cadaver Bone
Cadaver bones come from other humans who have donated their bodies to science. The bone comes from a reputable tissue bank and is freeze-dried and sterile. There used to be some risk involved such as transmitting any infectious diseases, but that is rare now as the sterilization process is much more effective and everything is tested thoroughly.
3. Animal Bone
Another option is cow bone. The bone has been harvested, sterilized, and processed so that there is little risk of infection. However, just like with the cadaver bone, there used to be a risk of contamination. This material is absorbed by your body and naturally replaced with your own bone over time.
4. Mineral Bone Substitute (Synthetic)
This may be the least effective option, but it is still an option. In terms of safety, it is actually second only to your own bones. The sterile bone-like material functions just like your own bones. Over time, the material will be absorbed and replaced by your obwn bone.
The dental bone grafting procedure
For your dentist or doctor to determine if you need a bone graft, how much grafting you need, and what material will work best, you need to get panoramic or full mouth x-rays or Ct scans. If you decide to use your own bone, then you will need that area scanned as well.
To harvest bone from your chin, the oral surgeon will use anesthesia on the recipient and harvesting site.
An incision will be placed at the recipient site in two sites: in the gum and below the lower front teeth. This enable to expose the chin bone so that a block of marrow and bone can be removed. The area will then be covered with a layer or bone or tissue substitute to keep the gums in place while they heal.
After the incision site is closed, the block will be placed into the recipient site and screwed in with small titanium screws. These screws will be removed after the recovery period.
In order to stimulate bonding, a mixture of your own marrow and other materials will be placed around the edge. Finally, the surgeon will lay down a tissue membrane over the top of the graft before closure.
2. Shin or Hip
For a graft from the chin, you will be placed under IV sedation in the office. For the hip or shin, however, you may need to spend a few days in the hospital, as general anesthesia will be necessary. After the bone is harvested from either the shin or the hip, the bone is placed in the recipient site in a similar manner to the way described above.
With either graft material, it can take anywhere between 4 to 9 months for the augmentation to heal and properly integrate with the bone – only then can implants be placed.
How much does it Cost ?
The cost of a bone graft depends on a few things: the size of the area, the shape of the area, the source material, and where the harvesting occurs.
As you may know, dental insurance does not cover a lot when it comes to dental implants. However, your plan may cover a part of the graft if the implant is considered medically necessary. For instance, if you are having trouble eating because of your teeth, and there are no other options available (dentures), then it should be covered.
Using bones from a cadaver or cow or using synthetic bones actually costs less than your own bones. The cost of a basic augmentation with your own bone from your jaw, the cadaver, cow, or synthetic bone is about $300-$1,300 for a single area. Using your own bone from your hip costs about $1,500-$3,000 because you will need to have two surgical sites, hospitalization, and anesthesia.
|Bone grafting prices|
|Lower cost||Average cost||Upper cost|
|Simple bone graft||$300||$500||$1,300|
|Complex bone graft||$1,500||$1,800||$3,000|
Don’t forget that you may also have other fees:
- X-rays ($20-$200)
- CT scans ($200-$900)
- Specialist costs (varies)
|Imaging test prices|
|Lower cost||Average cost||Upper cost|
|Dental CT Scan||$200||$600||$900|
So, getting implants can be a real expensive journey as you need to add to the cost of dental implants, many other costs like the cost of bone grafting (if necessary) and other additional expenses. If you cannot afford bone grafts and implants, or you would rather not go through the healing process, you might want to consider dentures or bridges.
Recovery and Post-Procedure Care
After surgery, you will be given antibiotics, pain meds, and antibacterial mouthwash to help keep you clean and comfortable. You will likely be advised against eating certain foods and putting any kind of stress on your grafts. Obviously doing so could make the healing process take longer.
Depending on your specific case and materials, healing can take anywhere from four to nine months before your jaw is deemed strong enough for implants.
During this period, you should keep up with a healthy diet and a proper oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing.