Dental Grafts

A dental bone graft is a minor surgical procedure for restoring or augmenting the bone in the jaw. This type of graft can be necessary for several reasons, such as after tooth loss due to decay or injury, to prepare for dental implants, or to correct defects in the jawbone. The goal of a dental graft is to create a strong and stable foundation for future dental treatments. At Dentistry in Waterloo, our experienced dentists will work closely with you to determine if a dental graft is the right option for your specific needs.

Types of Dental Grafts

Several types of dental grafts may be used, depending on the specific needs and situation of the patient. These include:

  • Autograft. In an autograft, bone is harvested from another area of the patient’s body, such as the hip or jaw, and transplanted to the site requiring augmentation. Autografts are considered the gold standard due to their high success rate and compatibility with the patient’s own bone.
  • Allograft. Allografts involve using bone from a donor source, which is processed and sterilized before being transplanted into the patient. This eliminates the need for a second surgical site to harvest bone.
  • Xenograft. Xenografts use bone material sourced from another species, typically bovine (cow) or porcine (pig). The bone is processed to remove all organic components, leaving behind the mineral structure to act as a scaffold for new bone growth.
  • Synthetic Grafts. Synthetic bone graft materials are biocompatible substances designed to mimic the properties of natural bone. These materials can be made from ceramics, calcium phosphates or bioactive glasses.
  • Alloplastic Grafts. Alloplastic grafts are synthetic materials that do not contain any biological components. They provide structural support and promote new bone formation by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes.

Benefits of Dental Bone Grafting

  • Enhanced Bone Volume. Bone grafting helps restore or augment bone volume in areas where bone density is insufficient, providing a solid foundation for dental implants or other restorative procedures.
  • Improved Implant Success. Dental implants are more likely to integrate successfully by strengthening the jawbone through grafting. This reduces the risk of implant failure and ensures long-term stability.
  • Preservation of Facial Structure. Bone loss in the jaw can change your facial appearance, appearing as sagging or sunken. Bone grafting helps maintain the face’s natural contours by supporting surrounding tissues.
  • Restored Dental Function. Grafting enables the placement of dental implants, bridges, or dentures, restoring proper chewing function, speech and overall oral health.
  • Aesthetic Benefits. Bone grafting can improve the aesthetics of the smile by providing support for natural-looking restorations and ensuring a harmonious blend with existing teeth.
  • Prevention of Further Bone Loss. Grafting can halt or slow down the progression of bone resorption, protecting the remaining bone mass and preventing future complications.
  • Versatility. Various types of bone graft materials are available, offering flexibility in addressing different degrees of bone loss and accommodating individual patient needs.
  • Long-Term Benefits. Properly integrated bone grafts can provide a durable foundation for dental treatments, contributing to the longevity and effectiveness of restorative procedures.

Who Needs Dental Grafts?

Dental grafts may be recommended for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Tooth Loss. When we lose our teeth due to decay, injury or extraction, the bone in the jaw can begin to resorb or shrink. This can lead to aesthetic and functional concerns, such as difficulty chewing or speaking.
  • Periodontal Disease. Advanced periodontal disease can cause damage to the supporting structures of the teeth, including the jawbone. A dental graft may be necessary to repair and regenerate lost bone tissue.
  • Congenital Defects. Some individuals may be born with or develop conditions that affect the growth and development of their jaws, leading to gaps, asymmetry or other abnormalities. A dental graft can help correct these issues and create a more balanced and functional bite.

Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implants are an effective way to replace missing teeth, but they require a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw to be successful. In case of bone loss, your dentist may recommend a dental graft to create a strong foundation for the implant.

The Process of Bone Grafting

Initial Consultation

The bone graft dental process begins with an initial consultation at a dental office. During this visit, the dental surgeon will perform a full examination to assess the condition of your jaw bone and identify the specific areas that require grafting. This step is necessary for creating a specific treatment plan for you.


Preparatory steps ensure optimal results before the actual surgical procedure. Depending on the patient’s oral health, this may include dental cleaning to remove bacteria and plaque or treating existing gum disease.


Local anesthesia is usually used before bone grafting to numb the treatment area. However, for more extensive grafts or patients with severe dental anxiety, general anesthesia or conscious sedation may be administered. The dental surgeon prioritizes patient comfort and will ensure you are calm and pain-free throughout the procedure.

Incision and Preparation of the Site

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the dental surgeon will make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone in the area needing grafting. Any damaged or diseased bone tissue is carefully cleaned and removed to create a healthy and strong foundation.

Graft Placement

The graft material—autograft, allograft, xenograft or alloplast—is placed into the prepared site. The graft is slowly positioned to ensure it is in contact with the existing bone, maximizing the potential for successful integration and new bone growth.

Securing the Graft

To secure the graft in place, the dental surgeon may use small screws or other fixation devices, particularly in cases involving larger grafts or more complex reconstructions. These devices maintain the graft’s stability when healing.

Suturing and Healing

After the dental surgeon places and secures the graft, the gum tissue is repositioned over it and sutured closed. Your dentist will provide instructions for post-operative dental care, including guidelines for managing discomfort, maintaining oral hygiene and dietary recommendations.

Healing and Integration

The healing phase is essential for a successful bone graft procedure. Within the next few months, the body gradually replaces the graft material with new, natural bone tissue. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor progress and ensure proper healing.

Final Steps

Once the graft has fully integrated and stabilized, the site is ready for implant procedures. The dental surgeon will evaluate the results and plan the next steps in your treatment, ensuring that the foundation the major bone graft provides is strong and healthy.


Is Dental Graft Painful?

Many patients worry about the discomfort associated with dental grafting procedures. With proper anesthesia and pain management techniques, most patients report little to no pain during or after treatment.

What Is the Recovery Time?

The recovery time varies depending on the type of graft and individual healing factors. Patients may experience some bruising, swelling and mild discomfort for a few days following the procedure. However, most can resume normal activities within a week or two.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Dental Graft Surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, risks are involved, like infection, bleeding or complications with anesthesia. However, these are rare and can be prevented by following your dentist’s post-operative instructions carefully. During your initial consultation, your dentist will discuss potential complications and address any concerns.

How Long Do Dental Grafts Last?

The longevity of a dental graft depends on several factors, including the type of graft material used, the patient’s overall health and oral hygiene habits. A dental graft can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.

Experience Safe and Reliable Dental Grafts at Dentistry in Waterloo

Dental grafting may scare you because it involves incisions and other invasive methods. However, we have a highly trained dentist who will take proper care of you every step of the way and assure you will not feel any pain throughout the procedure. Our dentist will give you a complete walkthrough of everything so that you can prepare yourself mentally and physically.

You may schedule an appointment with our dentist to see if you require bone grafting. If we notice you need the procedure, we will refer you to a specialist who can provide excellent bone grafting services.


Since providing compassionate care is our main objective, we strive to ensure that our patients feel at ease. The environment of our dental clinic is relaxing. The first impression many patients get when they walk in is that they have walked into a spa. 

A comfortable surrounding paired with a team that is kind and personable; each one of our team members show that not only do we care for you, but we also care about you. This is shown by going the extra mile to make sure that we meet your needs and expectations at all of your appointments. Our team will do everything they can to accommodate you and guide you towards a healthy and happy smile.

Dentistry in Waterloo Office interior and logo sign mounted on the wall


We know you have many choices when choosing a Dentist in Waterloo, Ontario so we have made requesting an appointment a simple process via our Web site. If, for any reason you cannot keep a scheduled appointment, or will be delayed, please call us as soon as possible.

Insurance and Billing

At our fee-for-service office, we go above and beyond to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for our patients. Payment is required at the end of your appointment, but we take care of the rest. Once your visit is complete, we handle the entire insurance claim process for you, submitting it electronically to save you time and effort. If you have direct deposit set up with your insurance provider, your reimbursement will be deposited into your bank account within a couple of days. Otherwise, your insurance carrier will mail the cheque to your registered address.

We strongly encourage setting up direct deposit if you have not already done so, as it will expedite the reimbursement process. Please feel free to inquire about how to proceed with this option. We are here to help!


If you are unable to keep an appointment, we ask that you kindly provide us with at least 48 clinic business hours’ notice. A fee may be charged if a patient does not show up for an appointment without sufficient notice.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing our practice for your dental care.

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