Human bone keeps changing over time. In fact, as you are reading this, your body is making new bone cells and removing old ones. When it comes to the bone that supports your teeth, this process can be either good or bad. For example, the adaptive response of the jaw enables orthodontists to align the teeth with braces. But in the event of losing a tooth during adulthood, the resulting changes in the bone can have serious consequences.
With tooth loss, the bone that used to surround the missing tooth begins to melt, or "resorb." You can also lose supporting bone when you have periodontal (gum) disease. If this goes out of hand, your facial features will sag and give you an older appearance. As well as this, it can make further treatment more complicated.
Fortunately, with modern techniques, a bone graft can help reconstruct lost bone volume. This will benefit both your health and your appearance, as it strengthens your jaw, contributes to better tooth replacement, and enhances the support that gives your facial features.
So, without further ado, this post will dig into bone graft for a dental implant that adds bone structure and volume. As you continue down the paragraphs, you will learn how bone grafts help you preserve bone in your jaw so it can hold an implant.
Key Takeaways on Dental Bone Graft
- In many cases, tooth extraction leads to bone loss in jaw, in which case bone grafting may be necessary to guarantee the success of a dental implant
- Bone grafts replace the missing bone and support dental implants
- There are different types and treatment options available; the procedure can be done in a dentist's office
- It costs between S$4,000 and S$6,000 to get it going
What is a Bone Graft? How Does a Bone Graft Work and Help Your Teeth before Implant Procedure?
Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure that takes bone from other parts of your body, or a foreign body, and puts it into your jaw, right where the missing tooth is. When teeth have been lost for a long time, this can cause bone loss. The goal is to add more support for a dental implant. It just makes the treatment more effective and ensures long-lasting results.
This is a surgical procedure that can usually be carried out in a dentist's office. An incision is made in the gum to get access to the bone beneath it, and then the bone graft material is added. Very often, that material is made of processed bone minerals. And over time, the body creates new jaw bone cells around them.
Bone graft for tooth implant requires local anaesthesia for the most part, although intravenous (IV) sedatives may also be necessary. Because a small incision is made in your gum tissue to access the targeted bone, you may experience some pain in the area after surgery.
Then, over the next few months, your body will replace the graft with its own natural bone growth, thereby reversing the reduction in bone you've experienced. (The bone needs time to grow.)
Sinus Lift and Bone Graft | Bone Graft Types
There are different types of bone grafts to replace missing bone.
This procedure may be performed right after tooth extraction in order to preserve the site, and is the simplest of all methods. When a healthy bone structure is added to the gap right away, it prevents existing bone loss. Another advantage is that the site heals within 4 months, allowing the dentist to start the dental implant placement.
Block Bone Graft
This classic technique consists of obtaining bone tissue from the patient themselves, generally from other areas of the mouth. A block of bone is then created and screwed into the area of bone loss using titanium screws.
Because scientific evidence has shown that these blocks are resorbed, losing the bone gain induced at first, this technique has evolved a lot.
Currently, instead of blocks, thin sheets that are 1 mm thick come into play. They are screwed away from the bone in the area to be regenerated. If the gap has an irregular shape, a softer material will be paired with the block so it can fit better the gap.
Sinus Lift Procedure
This technique can only be used in the upper posterior area when the lack of bone results from the maxillary sinus being very close to the oral cavity. It consists of lifting the Schneider membrane (a thin layer of epithelium) that lines the inside of the maxillary sinus and adding the bone material below said membrane. Over time that this will become the patient's bone in the upper jaw.
This method can be done in two ways. The first one is indirect, or transcrestal (using the same hole through which the implant is later placed). And the second one is direct, or laterally (approaching the sinus laterally). The indirect approach is always carried out at the same time as the implant placement.
On the other hand, with the direct technique, sometimes the implants can be placed simultaneously and sometimes it is necessary to wait a few months after the graft.
The decision of which way to go will depend on the amount of bone the patient already has and how much material is needed.
Dental / Tooth Bone Graft Cost in Singapore
The cost of a dental bone graft varies from S$4,000 to S$6,000 depending on the type and size required. It varies largely per case. Generally speaking, non-complex cases are less expensive than complex cases. You will know the final cost upfront because dentists provide free estimates.
Now, if sinus lifting is required as a bone graft is placed, it runs some S$1,000 to S$3,500. Therefore, this will increase your total treatment cost.
Where Do the Bone Grafts Come From? Materials
For a bone graft to happen, you need to find some bone tissue. There are different sources available.
Also called 'autografts,' these are obtained from other parts of the patient’s body. They allow live cell transplants, preventing the transmission of infectious diseases. There is no immunological rejection, since the grafted material comes from the individual himself or herself. For this reason, these grafts have the highest success rate.
They may be taken from cadavers. Allografts make it possible to have an unlimited amount of bone. No other body parts of the patient need to be involved in the procedure. There is a risk - although minimal- of disease transmission.
As far as advantages go, there are a couple worth mentioning. First, they are immediately available and offer different sizes, shapes, and adequate quantities. Second, they avoid donor site morbidity, and they can be stored for long periods of time.
Heterologous grafts or xenografts
These are often extracted from animal products, such as algae, coral, or bovine. They are considered risk-free and are easy to obtain. With their help, the dental professional can cause bone to grow in the area that suffered from loss of bone mass.
Instead of being organic, these are manufactured in a lab to avoid possible complications. The most common synthetic substitutes are bioactive crystals, including beta-tricalcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite.
Do I Need a Bone Graft Procedure Before Dental Implant Surgery?
If you don’t have enough jawbone to provide structure and support to an implant, then you do need a graft. There are various reasons for that. The most common cause of bone loss is tooth loss. Other triggers include osteoporosis, gingivitis, traumatic facial injury, cancer, and periodontal disease.
But don’t just take out word for it. Listen to your dental professional. They will decide what you need after they examine your gums and the bone left. A special treatment plan will be made exclusively for you because each case is different.
What are the Risks of Getting a Bone Grafting Procedure?
- Nerve damage
- Blood clot
- Complications from sedation or general anaesthesia
Dental Implant Bone Graft Aftercare
You will be discouraged from performing any strenuous physical activity for at least 4-5 days after a bone graft. It may be better to sleep with an elevated head for a while. Make sure to put ice packs near the surgical site (but not directly on it). Do not keep them on longer than 5-10 minutes. Also, take all of your prescription medications as instructed. Your dentist will give special dental care advice.