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Tips On Preparing For a Bone Graft For Dental Implants
Dental implants offer a natural-looking and long-term way to replace missing teeth, but some persons may need to receive a bone graft before the procedure can be performed successfully if they do not have sufficient bone density or thickness. When a graft is recommended to provide sufficient support for the implant, patients can take a number of steps to prepare. Doing so keeps them informed about the process and helps the procedure go more smoothly.
4 ways to prepare for a dental bone graft
When a bone graft is necessary, these tips can help patients prepare for the procedure.
1. Research grafting materials
Unless someone is facing the process, the wide variety of bone grafting materials often goes unconsidered. A 2013 review in the Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences shows that patient-sourced material is the gold standard for pre-implant bone grafts, but it is far from the only choice. Some of the most common types of bone grafts include:
- Xenografts use animal bones — usually porcine or bovine
- Autographs use bones from another part of the patient's body, such as the shin, chin, or hip
- Allografts are sourced from donor bones of another human and are generally procured from a cadaver
- Other grafts are made from synthetic materials including ceramic and naturally-occurring hydroxyapatite
2. Learn about the recovery process
The recovery process will vary among patients, and certain health conditions or lifestyle choices can affect the body's ability to heal. As with other medical procedures, candidates for a bone graft should always share any existing medical conditions that could interfere with recovery.
In general, minor bleeding, swelling, and discomfort at the surgical site can be minimized with OTC or prescription medications. Most patients notice a reduction in symptoms after the first few days. A diet of soft foods is generally recommended while the gums heal.
3. Be aware of possible complications
While most patients undergo a bone graft with minimal discomfort and very few issues, they should be aware of some possible complications. Many dentists will administer a prophylactic antibiotic to avoid infection at the surgical site, which is the most common side effect reported. In very few cases, bone spurs may develop. These cause discomfort and swelling as they work through the gums but are generally not a serious concern.
4. Develop a comprehensive treatment plan
A bone graft is a significant dental procedure and should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address dental deficiencies. Patients should discuss their medical history, grafting options, and any next steps with an experienced provider. Most patients need to wait several months for a graft to fully integrate into the jaw through osseointegration before an implant can be placed. In some cases, however, a small graft can be placed simultaneously with an implant.
A bone graft is often needed to offer additional support to dental implants. A qualified dental professional can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes the graft. Learning about options for the procedure and recovery process, including possible complications, helps patients prepare.
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