Bone grafting

If you’re having dental implants placed, and your jawbone isn’t thick enough, a bone graft or augmentation may be required. Depending on your needs, this could take place before or during your implant procedure. During your consultation, your dentist will let you know if bone augmentation is required and talk through your treatment options.

We know the procedure may sound daunting, but it’s fairly common and your dentist will support you through the entire process and talk you through dental sedation options.

Bone graft section illustration for Bupa dental care

What is bone augmentation?

A dental implant is a titanium screw that’s fitted into your jawbone, replacing the tooth root. To be suitable for an implant, your jawbone needs to be thick enough to support it.

There are some reasons why you might not have enough bone. When teeth are lost or extracted, the bone surrounding your tooth root can shrink gradually. Gum disease, infections and injury to the mouth can also lead to bone loss.

Bone augmentation or grafting is a solution. Both procedures replace lost bone using either bone from another part of your mouth, or one or more types of substitute material.

Depending on how much bone shrinkage has occurred, there are various treatment options available, including:

  • Minor bone augmentation: Also called simultaneous augmentation, this procedure can be performed around an implant while it’s placed.
  • Staged bone graft: If too much bone has shrunk, a staged bone graft may be required six months before the implant is placed.

What are the different types of bone augmentation?

As well as a minor bone augmentation and staged bone grafting, other options include a sinus lift and ridge preservation.

What are the risks of dental implant bone grafts?

There are always risks with any type of surgery; your implant dentist will talk these through with you and answer any questions. When carried out by an experienced implant clinician, these risks are rare.
  • After surgery to the lower jaw, temporary or permanent numbness/ altered sensation of the lip, teeth and/or tongue can occur in rare cases. This is a sign of nerve injury and requires urgent treatment. Symptoms include feeling like the anaesthetic hasn’t worn off, and/or episodes of intense pain in the lip and lower jaw. If you experience either symptom, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

  • Depending on how much bone and soft tissue is lost from the implant site, it’s not always possible for your implant and false tooth (crown) to have an ideal appearance. Complete reconstruction of the gums can’t be guaranteed, and the false tooth may appear longer at gum level than the natural teeth to it. Soft tissues, such as the gum, aren’t completely controllable and recession could occur unexpectedly. In some cases, your dentist may be able to add pink material to the final bridge or crown, simulating missing gum tissue.

How do I care for my mouth after bone augmentation?

Your dentist will give you clear guidance on how to care for your bone graft, including the instructions below. Success rates are very high when carried out by a trained and experienced implant dentist or surgeon, and if you follow the aftercare instructions carefully.


Book an implant consultation today

If you’re interested in dental implants or want to learn more about bone grafting, find your nearest implant dentist below and get in touch.

More about implants and bone grafting

Find out more about dental implants and how to look after your bone graft.

^ We may record or monitor our calls.

Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

Content is loading