What Is a Dental Bone Graft?

When a person loses a tooth, the best way to replace it is with a dental implant. In some cases, due to insufficient or deficient bone in the jaw, a dental graft is required before an implant can be implanted.

A dental bone graft, also known as dental bone grafting, is a surgical procedure where a piece of bone is built using a piece from another bone or an artificial piece.

Based on the origin of the bone that will be used to build the graft, dental grafts can be divided into the following categories:


This type of bone graft uses bone from the patient, typically from another part of the jaw, although in some rare cases, bone from the hip is used.


This type of bone graft uses bone from a cadaver. The piece of bone is ordered from a bone bank.


This type of bone graft uses bone from an animal, typically a cow.


This type of bone graft uses an artificial material, typically a type of dental ceramic (calcium phosphates or calcium sulphate) that resembles the physical properties of the bone.

The best option is the autograft, as it has a much lower chance of being rejected. In addition, the bone is still alive and can become a normal part of the jawbone easily.

The bone graft can be performed in the dentist’s office with local anesthesia. The required bone is taken from the chin or the back of the jawbone. If bone from the hip will be used, the procedure takes place in a hospital under general anesthesia and you may need to stay at the hospital.

The day of the surgery, the dental surgeon cuts the gum and lifts it in order to establish how much bone is needed. However, through x-rays, he or she will already have an approximate idea, so don’t worry that the procedure might be interrupted because bone from the hip is needed after all. The surgeon will then cut where the bone will be taken from and remove the necessary bone. In some cases, he or she may replace the bone with synthetic material. The dental surgeon then uses the bone taken to craft the bone needed for the implant. When the surgeon finishes, he or she closes both wounds.

Like any dental surgery, you will need to wait several weeks for the area to heal before the implant can be inserted. You may not be able to do anything for a day or two. Your dental surgeon will give you all the pertinent instructions.

The procedure may sound long and uncomfortable. However, our dental surgeons have the training needed to make it as fast and smooth as possible. Also, the rewards, like being able to chew hard food and smile without embarrassment are worth the trouble and last for a lifetime.

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Monica Rix PaxsonMonica Rix Paxson is an award-winning author writing on topics related to science and medicine including the book “The English Speaker’s Guide to Dental Care in Mexico”.
She has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and the BBC.