Bone Grafting and Guided Bone Regeneration

Today, more than ever, advances in medicine and dentistry have led to new and expanded areas of treatment. Two such areas, bone grafting and guided bone regeneration (GBR) in the jaw bones and around teeth, have recently experienced tremendous growth. Procedures to repair and grow new bone, unheard of just a few years ago, are now part of routine dental surgical. We would like to help you better understand what bone grafting and GBR are, what options are available to you and what benefits you may gain from these procedures.

What are Bone Grafting and Guided Bone Regeneration (GBR)?

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that replaces missing bone with a material called a bone graft. This material not only replaces missing bone, but also helps your body regrow lost bone. This new bone growth strengthens the grafted area by forming a bridge between your existing bone and the graft.

Over time the newly formed bone will replace much of the grafted material. GBR is a procedure in which a membrane is placed over the bone graft site. This membrane further encourages new bone to grow and also prevents the growth of scar tissue in the grafted site.

Why are Bone Grafts and GBR needed?

Bone grafts and GBR are needed when a part of your body is missing bone. This missing portion of bone is frequently called a “bony defect”. Examples of jaw bone defects are: defects which occur following tooth extraction generalized decrease in quantity of jaw bone from trauma or long-term tooth loss defects surrounding dental implants defects resulting from cyst or tumor surgery.

Are Bone Grafts and GBR painful procedures?

These procedures are usually done in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation or occasionally general anesthesia. The procedures themselves are without pain. Post-operatively, there will be some swelling and some mild to moderate discomfort, especially from other procedures performed, such as tooth extraction, cyst removal, etc.

Your doctor will prescribe an oral analgesic to help relieve your discomfort. If a more invasive second procedure is required to obtain bone (i.e. from your hip, chin area, etc.) then your post operative discomfort will be increased but still manageable.

What special care is required after my grafting procedure?

Generally, the same prudent care required after any dental surgical procedure will be sufficient following jaw bone grafting & GBR. The area must be kept clean, often with the help of a prescribed mouth rinse. An antibiotic, if prescribed by your doctor, must be taken. Antibiotics, however, are not always required. Undue pressure over the grafted site must be avoided until new bone is well on its way to being formed. This means that previous dental prostheses, such as a removable full or partial denture, must be altered by your dentist following the grafting procedure. And finally, brush and floss your teeth as you normally do. However, avoid the gum tissues surrounding the bone graft until they are well healed (usually about six weeks).

How successful are Bone Grafting and GBR?

Recent advances in technology have dramatically increased the success of these procedures, leading to bone formation and resolution of the defect. However, depending upon the reason needed for these procedures, success rates will vary. Also, different graft & GBR materials seem to affect the amount of new bone formed. And finally, your own overall health will also help determine the degree to which new bone will form within the grafted site.

Are there different types of Bone Grafts and GBR membranes?

Yes. Some grafts are taken from different parts of the patient’s own body (i.e. from the hip bone or chin). Other grafts come from deceased human organ donors, from synthetic materials, and from highly purfied bone mineral.

Likewise, there are different types of GBR membranes. Some are made from synthetic polymers and must be removed during a second surgery several weeks or months later. Others are made from natural materials and are gradually resorbed (melt away) by the body.


What is a dental bone graft?

If you’ve experienced bone loss in your mouth, a dental bone graft can add volume and density to your jaw, preventing it from sagging or drooping. The materials used in the bone graft may be taken from your own body or purchased from a human/animal tissue bank. In some cases, the material used may be synthetic.

How long after the bone graft can you get the implant?

Once the bone grafting procedure is completed, you’ll need some time to recover fully. The healing period can last for up to four months (or more). Only after the graft has healed sufficiently can you move to the phase where the implants can be set in your jawbone.

How long does a bone graft take to heal?

The time for recovery after a bone graft depends on the condition being treated and the size of the bone graft. This can mean anywhere between a couple of weeks and four months. The bone graft itself will need around three months or more to heal.

Can bone regenerate?

After the bone graft is placed, your body begins its own natural repair work. You can say that a dental bone graft is like a scaffold upon which your bone tissue can grow as it regenerates.

Does bone grafting hurt?

Most of our patients who have undergone dental bone grafting procedures report minimal to no pain. As long as you make sure to take all the prescribed medicines and follow the recommended after-care regimen thoroughly, you should not have a problem in this department.