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dental implant bone graft sydney

Dental Implant Bone Graft — What Is It And What’s Entailed?

A dental implant bone graft is performed to increase the jawbone’s height and width at the implant’s site. Bone grafting is a standard procedure but is not a requirement for everyone having dental implants, as we explain below.


When is Bone Grafting Necessary?

There are several situations where a bone graft may be needed before getting a dental implant. These include:


Bone loss in the jawbone

A dental implant is a metal post surgically placed into the jawbone under the gums. Once the dental implant has bonded to the bone, a small connector piece, called an abutment, is placed on top of the implant.

graft bone teeth implant sydneyThe abutment is then used to support a replacement tooth, called a crown. 

Although several factors affect the successful placement of dental implants, one of the main ones is that the jawbone is healthy.

Unfortunately, many people who want dental implant treatment also have bone loss in their jawbone. Thus, if there is not enough bone density, it will not be able to hold a dental implant.

Bone grafting ensures that there is sufficient bone volume to support the implant.


The maxillary sinus may be too close to the upper jaw

As we age, the sinus can become more prominent. Despite having sufficient bone mass, some people’s sinus is too close to the upper jaw, which makes placing dental implants difficult. Bone grafting with a sinus lift creates sufficient space between the sinuses and upper jaw to ensure dental implants do not cause damage.


How Do I Know if I Need a Dental Implant Bone Graft?

The dental implant process is extensive. During the consultation and examination, your mouth is examined, and x-rays/CT scans are taken to assess your jawbone. Along with your medical history, we can determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants, whether your jawbone is viable, or whether bone grafting may be necessary.


What Happens During a Bone Graft Procedure?

The bone graft can be performed simultaneously when dental implants are placed or before implant placement. It’s essential to know that if you have a bone graft placed before dental implants, the implant must be placed within 6-12 months — otherwise, the body will re-absorb the graft. A dental implant is vital in stimulating the jawbone to produce new cells that maintain a healthy jawbone. If the implant isn’t placed, the jawbone will not be stimulated, and the body will dissolve the graft.

Several different types of bone grafting material can be used—including bone from elsewhere on your body. However, many dental implant bone grafts are carried out using hydroxyapatite—a synthetic material with excellent hardness, biocompatibility and osteoconduction. 



Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that can take a few hours, depending on how big the bone graft is. The process is performed in the dental clinic under a local anaesthetic. If you are nervous about the procedure, conscious sedation is an option we can use to help you feel much more relaxed during the surgery.

The surgery involves making an incision in the gum and creating a flap so that the jawbone is visible and the defect exposed. After the area is cleaned and disinfected, the bone grafting material is used to repair the jawbone. The gum flap is stitched back into position, and the incision stitched closed.

Dental implants can be placed simultaneously with only minor bone grafting. But if significant grafting is required, there is likely to be a few months delay for the graft to heal before surgery for dental implants can go ahead.


Is Bone Grafting Painful?

With modern anaesthesia options, any surgery, including the bone graft procedure, is not painful. However, like any surgery, there is some discomfort. The level of discomfort will depend on the individual and the extent of the surgery. 

After surgery, you may have swelling, bruising and pain. However, over-the-counter pain medication should remedy the pain. Side effects should begin to diminish after 3 or 4 days.


What is the Recovery Process from a Dental Implant Bone Graft?

The recovery from bone grafting and dental implants is similar—so here’s a brief overview of what you can expect. 

bone grafting tooth implant sydneyAfter the procedure, you’ll likely have some swelling and bruising. This can be treated with ice packs and over-the-counter pain medication. You’ll also need to take it easy for a few days, avoiding strenuous activity and modifying your diet by eating soft foods that don’t require chewing.

The graft site will need to be protected while it heals, so you’ll need to be careful not to dislodge the graft or put too much pressure on it. You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the graft site. Healing can take several weeks, but improvements should be visible within a few days. 

Once the graft has healed, you can resume normal activities and diet. Recovery time is affected by various factors, including age, overall health and the surgery performed. To speed up the healing process following a dental implant bone graft, you should:

  • Follow the dentist’s instructions and be sure to take the full course of any antibiotic medication prescribed
  • Eat a diet of soft foods, including mashed potato, smoothies, soups, yoghurt, scrambled eggs etc., for a few days
  • Gradually introduce elements of your regular diet as your mouth begins to heal
  • Manage discomfort with painkillers
  • Avoid chewing in the area of the graft site 
  • Use ice packs to reduce swelling
  • Do not engage in activities that could disrupt the healing process for the days following surgery
  • Modify your sleeping position—sleeping on your back with your head elevated.


The Takeaway

A dental implant bone graft may be necessary if you have bone loss in your jaw or require a sinus lift. However, it is a straightforward procedure that will allow you to have the dental implants you want. Contact us on (02) 8007 6727 to find out more.




Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. 






Colgate: Bone resorption: why it happens, and what to do next?

WebMD: What to know about local anesthesia

Healthline: What is conscious sedation?





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