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8 Commonly Asked Questions About Bone Grafting
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8 Commonly Asked Questions About Bone Grafting
The effect of a dental implant is almost unbeatable when it comes to people who are missing one or more teeth.

Dental implants function and look just like your natural teeth. As with everything else, it is extremely important to understand all the aspects of oral surgery and dental implant procedure is not an exclusion. This process is not done in one step and generally involves bone grafting. However, the majority of people have little knowledge about this procedure. Therefore, the following article focuses on answering the most common questions people have about bone grafts for dental implants. 

What is bone grafting? 

Bone grafting is a surgical intervention, which is aimed to manage problems with joints and bones. It is also called transplantation of bone tissue. This procedure is highly beneficial for fixing bones, which are damaged as a result of a trauma or problems with joints. It is also helpful for growing bone around the implanted device including complete knee replacement where there is a bone fracture or loss. 

A bone graft for dental implants is able to fill an area where there is a lack or absence of bone. It also assists in providing structural stability. The donor for your bone graft can be your own body or it can be completely synthetic. It is also able to provide a framework where living bone, new can grow if the body accepts it. 

What are the most common types of bone grafts?

The most common types of dental grafts for dental implants are depicted below: 

  1. Allograft: they are the ones that come from a bone inside of the body such as hips, pelvis, or wrist

  2. Autograft: they are the ones that use bone from a deceased donor, which has been cleaned and stored in a tissue bank  

The type of injury that you are treating has a massive impact on the type of graft used. However, it can be also mentioned that the first type of bone grafts is typically used during long bone reconstruction. The advantage of this type is that it does not require additional surgery to acquire the bone. In addition to that, it limits the risk of getting exposed to infection due to the fact that additional surgery and/or incisions are not required. Apart from that, this approach involves bone that has no living cells meaning that the risk of rejection is minimal.  

What are the reasons to perform bone grafting? 

The procedure of bone grafting is generally done for several reasons, including injuries and diseases. Although, specialists differentiate between 2 main ones and they are as follows: 

  1. When a person experiences complex and/or multiple fractures and the ones that do not heal well after the initial treatment 

  2. For the purpose of helping bone heal around surgically implanted devices including plates, screws and/or replacements  

What are the risks associated with this procedure? 

Just like any other surgical intervention, bone grafting also involves some degree of risk including infection and reaction anesthesia, as well as bleeding. Some other risks of bone grafting surgery are: 

  1. Severe pain 

  2. Swelling 

  3. Nerve injury 

  4. Inflammation 

  5. Reabsorption of the graft 

  6. Rejection of the bone graft  

Your doctor will be able to give you more in-depth information on the risks associated with your specific case. 

How to get ready for this surgical intervention? 

Before the surgery, your conduct will make a thorough evaluation of your medical history and conduct a physical examination. During this stage, you need to be able to tell the doctor about the medications that you used to take or are currently taking, including supplements and over-the-counter drugs. 

In the vast majority of cases, your doctor will tell you to fast before the surgery. It is needed to be done for the purpose of preventing complications and side effects while you are under general anesthesia. A specialist will also provide you with instructions regarding steps that need to be taken before the surgery and the day after the surgery. It is crucial to follow these instructions. 

How is this procedure performed? 

As was mentioned before, the type of issue treated will determine the type of graft used for the surgery. Before the surgery takes place, you will be given general anesthesia, which will put you in a deep sleep. It will be monitored by the anesthesiologist during and after the operation. 

The surgery itself involves making an incision in the skin above where the graft is required. A doctor will then shape the donated bone to fit the space. The graft is held in place with the use of the following: 

  1. Plates 

  2. Screws

  3. Cables

  4. Wires

  5. Pins 

In the vast majority of cases, a bone grafting procedure involves the usage of special bone grafting material and grafting it onto your jawbone. Then you will have to wait for several months until the graft creates enough new and strong bone in order to make sure that the implant will be secure and stable. It might be also the case that if you need a minor graft, the procedure will be done at the same time as the implant surgery. However, the final decision is normally taken by the dentists. A successful bone grafting procedure will allow the jawbone to be sufficient enough needed to support your dental implant. 

What happens after the surgery? 

The size of the bone graft and other variables dictate the recovery duration. Although, the general recovery time varies from two weeks to more than a year. Your doctor might recommend you to avoid difficult physical activities. It is also recommended to make use of ice during the recovery phase. It can assist in preventing swelling, which leads to pain.  

Doctors also advise maintaining a healthy diet, which stimulates a faster recovery process. Apart from that, you should avoid smoking, which will definitely improve the health of your body after the surgery and beyond. There are studies that show evidence that smoking slows down the healing process and restricts bone growth. In addition to that, studies show that smokers have a higher risk of bone graft failure. An interesting fact is that some surgeons even refuse to perform the surgery on people who smoke. 

How much does this procedure cost? 

The price of bone grafting varies greatly. It depends on the type of anesthesia used, the duration of the procedure, whether any complications arise, and the amount of bone needed to be grafted. You are able to choose between synthetic bone or bone from your own body. Although, the most commonly used types of bones are the ones sourced from cadavers in a tissue bank or the bone, which is taken from your own body. The cost of a bone graft varies between $300 and $800 depending on the type of bone utilized.  

Another cost driver is hospitalization need, anesthesia. All the aforestated drives the cost up but also ensures that the procedure goes without any complications. Thus, if you sum up all the possible expenses, the average cost of this procedure will vary between $2,000 and $3,500. In some cases, you will need to make use of x-ray imagines, which could lead to a $300 or $1,000 increase in the total bill. It should be also mentioned that insurance will cover the cost of bone graft if it is done for medical purposes. Insurance does not generally cover the cost of a dental implant.

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