What is a Bone Graft and When Is It Needed? By on June 28, 2022

What is a Bone Graft?

A dental bone graft is an oral procedure performed to replace bone that has been lost or to increase the amount of bone where additional support is needed. Bone loss can happen due to missing adult teeth, periodontal disease, and more. There are many different situations where a bone graft may be necessary to complete specific treatments such as dental implants or after tooth extraction. 

When is a Bone Graft Needed?

  • To replace a missing tooth

    • Whether it's from an injury or a tooth extraction, dental implants can be placed to replace the missing teeth. If you don't have enough bone density for the implant, a bone graft would be a part of your treatment plan.

  • To improve a sunken-in facial appearance due to bone loss

    • If you go a prolonged period of time with missing teeth, it can cause your jaw bone to atrophy which can create a sunken-in facial appearance and can take a toll on your confidence. A bone graft can help to restore the bone in your jaw.

  • Bone loss due to periodontal disease

    • Advanced periodontal disease can weaken the supporting structures of the teeth including the gums and the surrounding bone. Dr's Terry and Mary Ann Work offer periodontics to treat conditions that affect your gum health.  

  • Not enough bone in the jaw for dental implants

    • When a patient has a low bone density in an area that needs a dental implant, a bone graft would be the first step of treatment to create a stable foundation for the implant.

Bone Graft Case


Here we show an example of a bone graft case that Dr. Terry L. Work has completed. You can listen to Dr. Terry Work go into more detail about this specific case in episode 86 of The Dental Works Podcast!  In this case, the patient had gone a prolonged period of time with multiple missing teeth resulting in a decrease in the bone density of their jaw. In the photo below, you can see (circled in red) the area of bone before the bone graft. When you compare it to the size of the dental implant that is planned to be placed (circled in blue), there is not enough bone in that area to support the implant. 

3D Scan before the bone graft 



In the next photo below, you can see (circled in red) the results of the successful placement of the bone graft in the same patient. The bone area is large enough to successfully support the implant (circled in blue) that will eventually be placed once the graft is fully healed. The yellow arrow shows where the screw was placed to fuse the graft to his jawbone. After the graft is placed, it will take about 4 to 6 months to fully fuse and heal with the jawbone. 

3D scan of a successfully placed bone graft


Dr. Terry Lee Work has successfully completed bone grafts for numerous full mouth reconstructions and dental implant treatment cases. At Dental Works, we take pride in offering the highest-quality dental care and are committed to providing a fun-loving atmosphere for all our patients. If you are looking for a practice that can provide a dental bone graft or you'd like to learn more about bone grafts and if they are an option for you, please contact us today for more information.


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Dental Works

Drs. Terry Lee Work and Mary Ann Work are the dentists of choice for many families throughout Greater Scottsdale. That's because our dentists:

  • Are affiliated with ICOI and the American Dental Association
  • Provide sedation dentistry for improved comfort and accommodation of special needs
  • Offer CareCredit® and Sunbit financing
  • Provide comprehensive dental care for patients of all ages

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (480) 391-0099.

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