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  • Writer's pictureBen Tindal, DMD, MS

Why Do I Need a Bone Graft to Get a Dental Implant?

Approximately 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. While that figure may be shocking, the good news is that losing a tooth doesn’t mean you need to go the rest of your life with a gap in your smile. Dental implants are a preferred tooth replacement option because of their numerous benefits. However, some patients need a bone graft before they can have dental implants placed. Continue reading to learn from your implant dentist in Sarasota about why this is sometimes necessary.


The root of your tooth stimulates your jaw whenever you chew to keep it strong and healthy. However, when you’re missing teeth, your jawbone isn’t receiving this stimulation. Over time, the bone tissue begins to be reabsorbed by your body. As the years pass, more bone deteriorates. This can cause difficulties when it comes to eating and speaking. It can even affect the alignment of your natural teeth.


A bone graft works by placing existing bone tissue into the jaw. This bone can come from another part of the mouth, a different area of the jawbone, or from a human or animal donor. Sometimes, synthetic material is used.

Once this new piece of bone is placed in the correct area, it will bond itself to the preexisting bone by creating new cells around the grafted material. In the end, you will build up additional bone tissue in the areas that need it. This is a relatively minor procedure and patients are typically sedated throughout the process. Most who receive bone grafts report the experience was pain-free!


Needing a bone graft before getting dental implants is fairly common. This technique is required when a patient doesn’t have enough healthy bone tissue in their mouth that is capable of supporting dental implants. Oftentimes, this is a result of previous tooth loss, but it can also be caused by developmental defects, periodontal disease, and facial injuries.


After the bone graft procedure is complete, your dentist will prescribe you antibiotics to prevent infection. If deemed necessary, you may also be given pain medication for the recovery period, but many patients do fine afterward with just the antibiotics.

Once the bone graft fuses with the natural bone in the mouth, your dentist will be able to place your implants. Depending on your case, this could take anywhere from 3-12 months. It all depends on how substantial your bone loss is.

A bone graft may sound scary, but it is a very common procedure needed before implant placement surgery. During your initial consultation, it will be determined whether one is necessary for you. You’ll be on a path towards a straighter smile in no time!

Dr. Ben Tindal earned his dental doctorate from the University of Florida. He is a member of the American College of Prosthodontics, the Academy of Osseointegration, and the American Dental Association. If you are interested in dental implants, Dr. Tindal can perform the full treatment at his office location – even advanced implant-related procedures – and financing options are available. Schedule a consultation on his website or call (941) 260-1199.

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