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Osseous Grafts or Bone Grafts

A dental bone graft is a procedure that is needed when the jaw has lost some of its original structure. It is often required after tooth loss and before placing dental implants. We may also recommend a bone graft if jawbone loss affects your remaining natural teeth.

Table of contents

What Is a Dental Bone Graft?

Osseous Grafts or Bone GraftsA bone graft restores missing bone to areas of your jawbone where jawbone loss has occurred. Three different types of bone graft materials may be used.
These are:

  • Autograft.
  • Allograft.
  • Xenograft.


An autograft uses bone taken from another site in your body. The bone can then be shaped or ground into particles to be placed in the jawbone correctly.

This type of bone graft will be an exact match so that it will integrate well with your body, and there is no risk of rejection. However, it does mean you require an additional surgery to remove the bone for placement in your jawbone.


An allograft is a donor bone that may be animal or human. It is extensively treated and thoroughly sterilized to ensure it is safe for use. Once placed in your jaw, it forms a scaffold for new bone cells to grow. Over time, the allograft is replaced with your own bone.

An allograft eliminates the need for additional surgery to harvest bone from another site in your body. Any risk of contamination should be extremely low because it is extensively processed.


A xenograft is a bone graft substitute and may be made from various synthetic materials. It is designed to act as a scaffold, encouraging your body to deposit new bone on and around it so that, gradually, it is absorbed and replaced entirely with your bone. Sometimes, a xenograft will include special growth proteins to help encourage healing.

Because the bone graft material is synthetic, there is no risk of rejection or contamination. Adding certain materials encourages new bone growth to fill any voids left by jawbone loss successfully.

When Would I Need a Bone Graft?

There are several reasons why we may recommend you have a dental bone graft, including:

  • After a tooth extraction.
  • Before replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant.
  • Restoring lost bone due to gum disease.
  • Preparing the jaw for dentures.

A bone graft adds density and volume, ensuring enough strong and healthy jawbone to support dental implants, protect neighboring teeth, and support your gums.

Are There Different Types of Bone Graft Techniques?

There are several different types of bone graft techniques that we may recommend, which include:

  1. Socket preservation.
  2. Sinus lift or sinus augmentation.
  3. Ridge augmentation.
  4. Periodontal bone graft.

Socket Preservation

We may recommend a socket preservation bone graft when removing a tooth. Once the tooth is extracted, bone grafting material is immediately placed into the socket. It helps prevent the bone around the socket from collapsing inward, filling the void left by the tooth root.

Sometimes, a tooth extraction, socket preservation, and implant surgery can be completed simultaneously. However, this is only possible in specific circumstances and is not right for everyone.

Sinus Lift

You may need a sinus lift if you wish to replace your upper back teeth. These teeth are near the sinus cavities, air-filled spaces on either side of your nose. The jawbone tends to be naturally thinner and weaker in this area. A sinus lift helps increase the amount of bone so we can place implants safely without risking penetrating the sinus membrane.

During this procedure, the sinus membrane is lifted upward to the correct position so we can place a bone graft underneath. The bone graft then creates a solid foundation for dental implant placement later.

Ridge Augmentation

A ridge augmentation can be necessary if you lost teeth a while ago. In this case, the bony ridge used to support your teeth may have diminished and become thinner.

A ridge augmentation increases the width and volume of this bony ridge, creating enough room for dental implants. It may also be used in preparation for dentures. Increasing the width and volume of the bony ridge helps provide better support and retention for a denture.

Periodontal Bone Graft

If you have severe gum disease or periodontitis, it can destroy the bone around your teeth, making them loose. A periodontal bone graft can be placed around an existing tooth to help hold it more securely, providing additional support.

How Soon Must I Wait Before Having Dental Implants?

If you have a bone graft in preparation for dental implants, the bone graft can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to heal completely. Usually, a bone graft must be left undisturbed to heal and integrate with your jawbone before implants can be placed. However, each situation is unique, and sometimes, we can complete bone grafting and dental implant placement during one surgical procedure.

We know most people will want their dental implant surgery as soon as possible, but we always suggest the option that provides the best long-term outcome.

What Is the Procedure for Bone Grafting?

A bone grafting procedure is very straightforward.

Step One: Dental Exam

Our experienced periodontist will complete a dental exam to check the health of your teeth and jaws. We must take dental x-rays and a cone beam CT scan to quantify the amount of missing bone correctly.

After reviewing these diagnostic images, we can discuss all treatment options with you, including different types of bone grafting materials, and provide a personalized treatment plan.

At this stage, we can also discuss sedation dentistry if required. While local anesthetic might be adequate for bone grafting, we fully understand that some people will feel more comfortable with sedation dentistry. Please don’t hesitate to ask about this option if you feel it would be helpful.

Step Two: Bone Grafting Surgery

We will ensure your mouth is numb with local anesthetic and provide dental sedation if required. A small incision is created in your gum so we can view the bone underneath. The area is thoroughly disinfected and cleaned before we add the bone grafting material. Sometimes, we will cover the bone graft with the membrane, which helps improve healing. Once complete, we reposition the gum and stitch the incision closed.

Before you leave our dental office, we can discuss how to keep the surgery site clean and provide detailed post-operative instructions. We might prescribe antibiotics, and if so, please take them exactly as directed until the course is complete.

What to Expect after Bone Grafting?

Once the anesthetic wears off, you may have minor discomfort, swelling, or bruising. This is perfectly normal; these side effects should disappear within a few days. Any pain can be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers, or we can prescribe something stronger if needed.

It is also perfectly normal to notice some small fragments of bone leaking out of the site over the first few days. These may look like grains of sand or salt and usually are no cause for concern. However, if you are worried or feel the bone graft isn’t healing as expected, please contact us.

Can a Dental Bone Graft Fail?

We take extensive precautions to ensure every bone graft is a success and treatment is carried out using the strictest infection control procedures. It would be rare for a dental bone graft to fail, but with any surgery, there is always a small risk of failure. This can increase if you smoke or have certain medical conditions that affect healing.
Potential signs of failure to look out for include:

  • Pain that worsens after the first few days.
  • Pus is building up around the bone grafting site.
  • Receding gums.
  • There is no improvement in jawbone density and volume.

If we feel your risk of bone graft failure is higher, we will discuss this with you beforehand.

How Long Will It Take to Recover from Bone Graft Surgery?

You should feel well enough to return to work a day or two after surgery. You may want to wait a little longer to recover at home if you receive dental sedation.

Your mouth should feel back to normal within a week or two. The dental bone graft can take between three and nine months to heal completely. The recovery time depends on the graft type, amount, and area in which it was placed. It can also depend on how well you heal after surgical procedures.

Jawbone loss is a widespread problem, especially among patients with periodontal disease. Its loss can negatively affect oral health, increasing the risk of tooth mobility and loss, so dental bone grafts are a very useful procedure.

A dental bone graft is a straightforward treatment that can help ensure you are suitable for dental implants or other restorative treatments. It can help restore oral health so your teeth and jaws function optimally and improve overall quality of life.

Page Updated on May 27, 2024 by Dr. Victoria Kushensky, DDS (Dentist) of My New Jersey Dentist
Victoria Kushensky D.D.S

My name is Victoria Kushensky. I am a general dentist dedicated to remaining at the forefront of my field. Combining compassionate care with extensive knowledge, I offer cosmetic and general dentistry services as well as advanced root canal treatments.

I earned my Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the esteemed New York University College of Dentistry. Throughout my career, I have honed my skills in various dental procedures, ensuring effective treatment for each patient’s unique needs. I prioritize patient comfort and understanding, taking the time to thoroughly explain procedures and address any questions.

More about Dr. Kushensky

My NJ Dentist: Victoria Kushensky, DDS
385 Prospect Ave Suite 304
Hackensack, NJ 07601
(201) 298-8000