There are specific kinds of patient cases where dental implants do not have the necessary bone mass needed to complete the procedure. In short, the jawbone must have sufficient bone material in order to accept a dental implant. This is most usually a factor when implants are being used for tooth restoration after an extraction. Most importantly, dental bone grafting technology and procedures allows for very high success rates with regard to placing dental implants. A solid and secure foundation ensures a much higher success rate when implants are used to replace missing teeth. When bone grafting is required the dental care provider will examine the jawbone to check for several unique characteristics. This includes jaw height as well as jaw width. Clearly, the correct overall jaw dimensions must also exist in order to accommodate a dental implant.
Bone Graft Materials
The bone needed to successfully accomplish a dental bone graft or augmentation typically comes from four primary sources.
In many instances the patient’s own bone is extracted directly from different parts of the body in order to accomplish a bone grafting procedure. This is considered to be highly effective and safe because it is coming directly from the patient’s own body. As a consequence this type of bone material easily combines with the jawbone with virtually no tissue rejection. Bone can be sourced from the hip, jaw, and chin or even from bone found within the knee. Once bone has been extracted it is minimally shaped to suit the desired target area within the jaw. This is considered one of the more expensive options, as it requires two separate surgical procedures. The bone must first be extracted and then it is grafted.
Another option for patients is that of grafting material sourced from human cadaver bone. This is frequently used in bone augmentation and is available from various types of trusted tissue banks located across the country. This type of bone is typically freeze-dried and sterilized in order to properly preserve the material. This option is considered safe and more affordable for many patients.
Bone sourced from animals such as cows is considered the most widely used type of bone augmentation material for dental implant purposes. The main advantage of using animal bone sourced from cows is that the bone integrates surprisingly well with human bone and results in few if any complications. Cow bone is freeze-dried and processed much in the same way as bone processed from a human cadaver. As a note, animal bone is always carefully cleansed and sterilized to ensure the highest levels of safety.
Another option is something known as synthetic bone grafting material. This type of material is a type of mineral bone substitute that has been shown to fuse with human bone in an effective and reliable way.
These are the four primary types of materials that are used with bone grafting required for different types of dental bone augmentation procedures. Generally speaking, the most effective type of bone grafting material is clearly the patient’s own bone, followed by freeze-dried human bone sourced from tissue banks. The next most effective type of augmentation material is processed animal bone followed lastly by synthetic type bone material or mineral bone substitute. Talk with your dental care provider to determine which type of material will suit your personal dental needs the best.
Dental Bone Grafting Procedure
In most cases the first step in having dental bone grafting procedures completed involves some level of preparation. The patient typically requires x-rays as a way to inspect the jawbone. Some cases also require a CT-scan that is a type of more detailed 3-D x-ray. The next step is to decide the type of bone grafting procedure that will be best suited for the patient. The choices include the socket graft or alveolar ridge preservation graft, the sinus grafting or sinus lift as well as the block bone grafting procedure. In some cases a combination of more than one type of procedure may be necessary. Each of these procedures can be explored in more detail with your dental care provider.
Once the source of the bone grafting material has been decided upon, the next step is to plan and prepare for the actual procedure. Then when the procedure begins the dentist will fill in the target area with the selected dental bone grafting material. Once this has been accomplished the bone will begin to heal and remodeling begins to take place. Amazingly, over time the body will actually replace grafted bone material with its own bone. The grafted bone material acts as a type of placeholder giving the body time to naturally fill and heal the target area.
Bone Graft Cost
The cost of a bone graft can vary substantially depending on the case at hand and the condition of the patient’s jawbone. That said typical costs associated with simple bone grafting for dental purposes using the sterilized bone of a cadaver or animal as well as synthetic bone can cost between $300 and $1200 for a single implant target area. Conversely, when a bone graft procedure is performed using the patient’s own bone material sourced from various parts of the body, hospitalization is required thereby increasing cost. A graft procedure of this nature also requires an orthodontic surgeon and an anesthesiologist resulting in a cost of frequently between $2500 and $3500. Keep in mind that these are just general estimates that can fluctuate depending on many variables and factors. Finally, patients should consider the type of insurance that they carry and what is covered by their insurance such as dental implant procedures or bone grafting. Each insurance provider is different in this regard.
As a note, there are several types of additional costs that can be incurred when planning for dental bone grafting. This includes everything from full mouth x-rays to CT-scans and other similar types of procedures. These can each increase the cost of a typical bone graft by up to $250-$1000. Again talk with your oral surgeon regarding your specific and unique case.