Some bone grafts for dental implants take longer to heal than others. In this video, I cover several factors that determine how long your bone graft takes to heal. Remember that many times the bone grafts and dental implants can be done simultaneously.
Factors affecting bone graft healing time
- Number of walls missing
- Upper or lower jaw
- Type of bone material
- Membrane type
- Block or particulate bone
- Rebuilding height, width or both
- Concurrent gum graft
Most bone grafts are ready for dental implants 4-6 months after the surgery. Some will need 7 – 9 months.
Feel free to ask questions below!
Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry
Hello, I’m Dr. Ramsey Amin and I’m going to speak with you a little bit about bone grafts and how long they take to heal. With respect to dental implants, bone grafting is sometimes necessary to rebuild the amount of jawbone to be adequate to replace the area or tooth with a dental implant. There’s a number of factors that I’ll cover here briefly.
One is how many walls are missing in the area where the implant needs to go. I’ll come back to that in a minute. Whether the bone graft is in your upper or lower jaw, also it depends on and is a factor on how long the bone graft will take to heal. What type of bone material is another factor. Whether or not a membrane is used to cover the implant is another factor to consider. Whether or not the bone is in a piece or a block or if it’s particulated, meaning it’s in granules.
Other issues are whether or not we’re just trying to rebuild the width of your bone or we’re trying to rebuild the width and the height of your bone, or one or the other, and whether or not we need to add gum at the same time. The number of walls that are missing. If you picture my hands as being four walls, it’s very easy to add bone to the center of those four walls. If one of those walls was missing all together, we would have to rebuild that all in its entirety. Rebuilding an entire wall or two walls that may be missing, they’re usually on the outer aspect of your jawbone, that typically takes longer to heal.
Most bone grafts, just so you know, heal in about three to four months. Some will take as long as seven to nine months. It really depends on the size, location, your medical conditions. A number of factors that I can’t say there’s one real answer, but the average is about four months for most people.
One example would be a sinus bone graft that happens to have all four walls contained. Generally speaking, those take four to six months for them to heal, to be solid enough to place dental implant. The lower jaw and the upper jaw are a bit different in their respect to how much blood flow comes to them. The upper jaw typically gets more blood flow than the lower jaw and therefore tends to heal better, faster with less problems. The upper jaw is what we call mostly marrow as opposed to cortical bone, so it does heal a bit better. There are chances of it taking much higher.
Types of bone that can be used will be covered in another blog. I’ll try to post a link so that you can cover that, but there’s basically your own bone is one option. The second option is bone from a tissue donor, a human being has passed on. Third is bone from a cow, and fourth would be synthetic types of bone. They all have different applications and different uses. One simply does not replace the other. Oftentimes I’ll mix one, two, or even three types of bone in order to make your bone graft successful.
Whether or not the bone is in a block or if it’s a particulated form has a lot of meaning also too. Typically, if we’re filling an area or filling a void, we can typically fill that with particulated bone, which kind of looks like rock salt or granules. As you heal, those granules will consolidate, become solid and just form new bone.
Other times where we’re missing most of the walls and we have to replace the whole outer aspect of the jawbone, we have to use what’s called a block bone graft, and a block would be where we take a section of bone. I’ll take a section of bone, either from where your wisdom tooth used to be or where your chin is from down inside the lower lip, actually cut a piece of bone out and replace that to a different area. It’s usually held in place by a screw and it’s allowed to mend to your jaw bone. Block bone grafts typically, depending on the area, may take shorter or longer to heal than a particulate bone graft. And again, each situation is very different.
When we’re rebuilding the jawbone, it’s much easier to rebuild the width. If you’ve lost the width of your jawbone, then it’s easier to rebuild than the height of the jawbone. Typically, if you’ve lost height of your jawbone, it may take a longer to rebuild, and oftentimes, we’ll have to combine that with a gum graph. Because if you’ve lost bone, if you think about it, the gums had to have shrank along with it. Oftentimes, I’ll take a piece of gum from the roof of the mouth or other alternatives of gum tissue and kind of sandwich it in between there in order to really rebuild the area the best possible.
But again, most bone grafts do take on average about four months. Some will take as long to seven to nine months. Very much dependent on the area that we’re rebuilding. But generally, your own bone will remodel and it will help turn over the graph material to something that’s solid and stable, and that can really allow a strong foundation for your dental implants.
If there’s questions or concerns, please leave some comments below. You don’t have to sign up at all. Just go ahead and leave comments or questions. I’ll try to get to them as soon as possible. Hope this was helpful and allowing you to at least gain some insight on how long it takes a bone graft to heal. Again, my name is Dr. Ramsey Amin. Thank you so much and we’ll see you soon. Thanks.