image of bone graftA bone graft is a surgical method that employs transplanted bone to restore and reconstruct diseased, damaged, or missing bones. In modern dentistry, a dental bone graft enlarges the volume and density of the jawbone.

Most of the skeletal system consists of connective tissue called the bone matrix. Bone matrix calcifies and gives bones their strength. Bone matrix forms, repairs, and restructures at the cellular level. The uniform nature of the bone matrix makes bone grafts sturdy and possible.

Bone grafting is necessary when the jawbone is too flimsy to support an implant. For the implant to be successful, osseointegration must take place. Osseointegration is the gradual, permanent merging of implant and bone. 

Common Causes of Bone Atrophy

The jawbone will reabsorb in periods in edentulous areas (or the areas that are lacking teeth).  The chewing motion stimulates dense, healthy bone around the teeth. Once teeth are extracted, the bone begins to atrophy.

Grafts are needed if there are signs of bone atrophy (or the degeneration of bone cells). Reasons for bone atrophy vary from person to person, but common causes are: 

  • Missing Teeth
  • Untreated Periodontal Disease
  • Aging 
  • Genetics
  • Congenital Conditions
  • Worn-Down Due to Ill-Fitting Dentures

Types of Bone Graft

Bone grafts increase the thickness of the bone area. If you require a bone graft, there are many donor sources to choose from: 

  • Autograft: Comes from your natural bone tissue. Considered the best source because there’s less of a chance that your body will reject your tissue.
  • Allograft: Sourced from a sterile and safe cadaver, commonly demineralized or freeze-dried bone. Allografts are a good solution for minor grafting.
  • Xenograft: Obtained from another species. Occasionally, maxillofacial surgeries require bovine bone.
  • Synthetic Grafts: Used to increase the fullness in the gum area but cannot be broken down or replaced by the patient’s natural bone.

What To Expect Before, During, and After Surgery

Before Surgery

To ease anxiety, Dr. Tye offers many forms of optional sedation dentistry, including IV sedation

He will apply local anesthesia to numb the area to make the operation virtually painless, though patients may still experience pressure and minor discomfort throughout the procedure. 

During Surgery

Dr. Tye will surgically adhere to the bone tissue of your choice to build volume in your jaw. Grafts should be completed in less than an hour.

After Surgery

You should be able to return home the same day. You will need someone to drive you home and help you fill your prescriptions as the anesthesia and sedation wear off.

Bone Graft Recovery


Typical symptoms of bone grafting are synonymous with any surgery. You may experience:  

  • Discomfort
  • Swelling of the Surrounding Gum and Skin
  • Minor Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Nausea from Anesthesia 


Dr. Tye will prescribe multiple medications to manage pain, bacteria growth, and reduce clotting.

  • Pain is often compared to the pain associated with a tooth extraction. For mild to moderate pain, take over-the-counter medication. Take prescribed drugs for severe pain.
  • Antibiotics are used to diminish bacteria growth. Dr. Tye may also prescribe a non-alcoholic, chlorhexidine mouthwash to control plaque.
  • Dr. Tye may prescribe blood thinners to reduce excessive clotting around the surgical site.


Enjoy highly nutritious soft and liquid foods that are easy to swallow to avoid disturbing your stitches. Foods high in omega-3s, like fatty fish, decrease inflammation. A diet high in calcium and vitamin D can help speed recovery. 

Avoid complex, inflexible, sticky, spicy, and salty foods. These types of foods can irritate your sutures and bruises around your oral cavity. 

After enjoying foods, swish the mouth out with salt water or prescribed oral rinse to wash away bacteria and food particles. This can be done up to five times per day.

Activities to Avoid

  • Chewing around the surgical site 
  • Smoking & chewing tobacco
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Gargling with mouthwash containing alcohol

Schedule a Consultation

When paired with follow-up visits, the average healing time of bone graft surgery and osseointegration is 4-6 months. Your total healing time will depend on the current condition of the oral cavity and the type of bone sourcing.

Bone grafts can be an essential component of your smile restoration odyssey. Bone grafts can sound intimidating, but the more knowledge you obtain, the more you should feel assured in your procedure.

If you have additional questions or concerns about bone grafting, call 817-552-3223 or message us online to consult with Dr. Chris Tye in Colleyville, TX.