For many patients considering dental implants, the prerequisite step of bone grafting may seem daunting and mysterious. The team at Sound Surgical Arts in Tacoma, WA, is here to shed light on this essential procedure, helping patients understand what to expect and the role it plays in ensuring a successful dental implant. We specialize in a range of dental services, including dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, bone and gum grafting, and reconstructive surgery. As top dentists in Tacoma since 2011, our mission is to provide comprehensive, educational, and informative content on vital dental health topics.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of bone grafting, specifically as it relates to dental implants. We’ll explore the reasons behind the need for a bone graft, the different types of bone grafts available, and the cutting-edge techniques and technology employed by Sound Surgical Arts in Tacoma, WA. Our goal is to demystify the process and help prospective patients feel informed and confident in their decision to pursue dental implant surgery.

Why is Bone Grafting Needed for Dental Implants?

When an individual loses a tooth, the jawbone may begin to deteriorate and lose its ability to support an implant effectively. This loss of bone mass can be caused by several factors, including gum disease, tooth extractions, or injury. Bone grafting helps to regenerate lost bone mass and create a solid foundation for dental implant placement.

Several conditions may necessitate a bone graft prior to implant surgery, such as:

  1. Insufficient Bone Density: A dental implant requires a certain level of bone density to ensure its stability. If the existing bone is insufficient to support the implant, a bone graft may be required to increase its thickness.
  2. Sinus Issues: In the upper jaw, the presence of sinuses can cause the bone to be insufficient for a dental implant. By performing a sinus lift procedure, a bone graft can ensure an appropriate level of bone density for successful implant placement.
  3. Trauma or Injury: Accidents or dental extractions might lead to bone loss or damage. Bone grafting can restore the damaged bone tissue, paving the way for dental implant surgery.

Types of Bone Grafts for Dental Implants

Several types of bone grafts are available depending on the patient’s individual needs. The most common types include:

  1. Autografts: Autografts are sourced from the patient’s body, typically the hips, jaw, or chin. Being the patient’s natural bone tissue, these grafts have a high success rate and faster healing time. However, they do require an additional surgical site which can lead to more discomfort.
  2. Allografts: Allografts are sourced from donated human bone tissue that has undergone meticulous sterilization to ensure safety. These grafts remove the need for a second surgical site, making them more comfortable for the patient.
  3. Xenografts: Xenografts are derived from animal sources, typically from cows. The bone material undergoes a careful screening and processing procedure to ensure biocompatibility and safety. Xenografts offer a readily available supply of bone material and do not require additional surgery.
  4. Alloplastic Grafts: Alloplastic grafts are made from synthetic bone material, such as calcium phosphate or hydroxyapatite. They serve to create a scaffolding for new bone growth, allowing the body to regenerate the required bone tissue. These grafts are used when the patient prefers not to use human or animal-derived materials.

The Bone Grafting Process

The bone grafting process begins with a thorough examination of the patient’s mouth and jawbone with the help of advanced diagnostic tools such as digital radiography and 3D cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). These imaging techniques allow the dentist to identify the exact area and extent of bone loss and help in determining the appropriate bone grafting procedure.

Once the type of bone graft is selected, the patient is made comfortable using local anesthesia or sedation. The dentist creates an incision in the gum to access the jawbone and then places the chosen bone graft material. The graft serves as a framework, promoting the regeneration of the patient’s natural bone tissue. The surgical site is then sutured, and the healing process begins.

Recovery and Aftercare

Following a bone grafting procedure, patients can expect some discomfort and swelling. Prescription pain medication and cold compresses will aid in reducing these symptoms. Antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwashes may be prescribed to minimize the risk of infection.

It’s crucial to follow the aftercare instructions provided by the dentist, including maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding strenuous activities. Patients can typically return to their normal routine within a few days, but the complete healing process may take several months. During this time, the grafted bone will integrate with the existing bone, providing a strong foundation for dental implant placement.

Once the dentist determines that the bone graft has successfully integrated, the next step in the dental implant process can begin. This includes the placement of the implant (a titanium screw that serves as an anchor), followed by the abutment and the dental crown, resulting in a fully restored and natural-looking tooth replacement.


Bone grafting plays a crucial role in the success of a dental implant procedure. By rebuilding and restoring lost or damaged bone tissue, it creates a solid foundation for implant placement and ensures the long-term stability of the prosthetic tooth. The expert team at Sound Surgical Arts in Tacoma, WA, utilizes advanced technology, techniques, and top-quality materials to create a comfortable and successful bone grafting experience for our patients.

If you are considering dental implants and want to know more about the options and procedures involved, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Sound Surgical Arts in Tacoma, WA. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team is ready and eager to guide you through the journey towards a healthy and vibrant smile.