In cases of severe dental damage, such as when the natural tooth roots have deteriorated, artificial teeth or metal implants may be used.

Of the two, dental implants are arguably the better option because they’re built to mimic both the look and function of regular teeth. If implanted successfully, it’ll be near impossible to tell between dental implants and real teeth.

If you plan on getting a dental implant, it is important that you understand that it requires surgery and that you will want to understand all the various aspects of such a procedure.

The one thing that you’ll want to take particular note of is the possibility of a bone graft being necessary.

What is a Bone Graft?

There are cases wherein the underlying jawbone has become too thin and tender. Hence, it will be too fragile to support both the stress of dental implant surgery and the intense pressure of everyday tasks, such as chewing and biting.

In these particular cases, a bone graft can help dental professionals add the necessary width or height to the jawbone. In turn, the procedure makes the dental implant surgery possible.

A bone graft procedure starts with the dental specialist taking a section of bone from a different area of the body, and grafting it onto the jawbone. Though, as is most of the case these days, a special bone grafting material is used as an alternative, bypassing the need of taking bone from another area, usually the hip.

Afterwards, the patient will have to wait for several months to allow the graft to create new, strong bone to make sure that the implant surgery is successful.

Once the bone graft has been allowed enough time to heal, the rest of the dental implant surgery can go on as planned.

Now, while it is true that most patients do have to wait for months for the graft to fully heal and recover, there are cases where the bone may be grafted at the same time as the implant surgery. However, this doesn’t usually happen, and ultimately, it is still up to the dental specialist to decide what is best.

Success Rate of Bone Grafts

The success rates for bone grafts in the jaws is very high, especially if its purpose is to be used for dental implants. However, the chance of failing and the development of other complications is and will always be there, as is with any other surgical procedure.

To date, it remains unknown to what exactly causes a bone graft procedure to fail. Although, dental specialists have been able to point out risk factors, such as smoking and certain medical conditions.

If you’re considering getting a dental implant for your missing teeth, be sure to discuss everything with your dental specialist first. Talk about the risks and benefits of the surgery, especially if you’re recommended to undergo bone grafting first. Include every detail of your personal medical history, as to avoid complications as much as possible and to make sure that the procedure turns out successfully.

Once the dental specialist has decided that you are a good fit, be sure to follow his or her advice and you should be looking forward to a brand new smile in no time.

If you would like to learn more about the bone grafting procedure, contact Dr. Steven Crandall of South Hills Dental Arts in Upper St. Clair, PA at 412-833-6166 or visit for more information.

Dr. Steven Crandall of South Hills Dental Arts proudly accepts patients from Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, Mt Lebanon, Peters Township, Pittsburgh, South Hill and all surrounding areas.