Dental Bone Graft: Materials, Cost and Procedure

In order for the dental implant process to be a success, there must be enough bone in the jawbone to support the implant(s). In cases where the bone under the gum is not wide, tall or dense enough, a bone graft is performed to create a strong foundation of bone for the implant to anchor into. When considering implant surgery, it is important to understand what a bone graft involves, how it is performed and how much it costs.

In This Guide

Dental Bone GraftBone augmentation is the process of rebuilding or replacing bone in the jaw using bone or bone-like materials in order to support dental implants. Grafts range in complexity from supplementing the bone beside one implant to making significant changes to the shape and size of the dental ridge.

Small grafts can be performed by a dentist during implant surgery, while extensive procedures are usually performed by a specialist such as an oral surgeon, prosthodontist or periodontist several months before.

Bone loss can be caused by trauma, an abscess/infection and periodontal disease. In addition, the density of bone beneath missing teeth deteriorates over time. Patients who have been missing teeth for months or years often require bone grafts before they can get implants.

Average Bone Graft Cost

Single Bone Graft Cost
Cadaver, Cow or Synthetic Bone$250$1100
Patient’s Own Bone$2000$3000

If a cadaver, cow or synthetic bone is used, the average price of a basic augmentation is around $250-$1100 for a single implant area. Using the patient’s own bone is more expensive and costs $2000-$3000 because it includes two surgical sites as well as hospitalization and anesthesia.

The cost of a bone graft depends upon a number of factors, including the size and shape of the area being worked on, the source material used and where on the bone is harvested from.

Patients may also have to pay additional fees for X-rays ($50-$200), CT scans ($300-$900) or consulting other specialists. For patients who cannot afford the price tag of bone grafts and implants or would rather not wait for the graft to heal, dentures and bridges are the best alternatives to consider.

Dental insurance does not typically cover dental implants, but it may cover part of the cost of a graft if it is deemed to be necessary for the patient’s well-being. For example, if a patient is unable to eat properly due to the bone loss and the problem cannot be resolved by other solutions such as dentures, the procedure should be covered by their health insurance.

4 Sources of Bone Graft Material

The following are the 4 main sources of material used for bone augmentation, listed in order from most effective to least.

Bone Ceramic (Sythetic Bone)

Your Own Bone
This source is the safest and most effective because it integrates very well and there is no risk of infectious disease, contamination or tissue rejection. The bone is typically harvested from the chin or jaw, but a shin or hip can also be used. Disadvantages of this source are that it requires two surgical sites, is more expensive and if the bone is taken from the hip or shin, requires general anesthesia and hospitalization.

Human Cadaver Bone
Freeze-dried and sterile, cadaver bone obtained from a reputable tissue bank is more affordable and generally quite safe, although it does carry some risk. Using human bone carries a similar level of risk of transmitting infectious disease to receiving blood from the blood bank.

Animal Bone
Cow bone has been commonly used for many years. It is sterilized and processed to minimize infection, but like human cadaver bone, there is the possibility of contamination. This graft material is naturally absorbed by the body and replaced with real bone over time.

Mineral Bone Substitute (Synthetic)
Although less-effective than the other options, these sterile bone-like materials are second only to a patient’s own bone in terms of safety. This material is also absorbed and replaced over time.

The Procedure

In order to determine if a bone graft is necessary, the extent of grafting required and what source material should be used, panoramic or full-mouth X-rays and/or a CT scan must be taken and analyzed. If the patient’s own bone is to be used, the location it will be harvested from will also be scanned and analyzed.

First, the oral surgeon administers local anesthesia to both the recipient and donor bone sites. An incision is made in the gum at the recipient site, followed by an incision below the lower front teeth, exposing the chin bone. A block of bone and marrow is removed from the chin.

The surgeon will then cover the area with a layer of tissue or bone substitute to keep the gums from growing into the hole while it heals. After closing the incision at the donor site, the block of donor bone will be placed at the recipient site and anchored in place with small titanium screws which are removed after the recovery period during the implant procedure.

A mixture of marrow and other material is placed around the edges of the block to stimulate bonding. The surgeon then lays down a tissue membrane over the graft before closing the incision.

Shin or Hip
If donor bone is taken from the shin, the surgeon may harvest the bone in the office while administering IV sedation, but if taken from the hip, hospitalization and general anesthesia is necessary. A patient may spend one or two days in the hospital to undergo the procedure. After harvesting the donor bone, it will be placed at the recipient site in the same way described above.

It can take 4-9 months for the augmentation to heal and integrate with the surrounding bone before implants can be placed.

Recovery and Post-Procedure Care

FlossingAfter the surgery, a patient will be given pain medication, antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthwash. They are advised to avoid certain foods and putting stress on the graft until it heals completely.

Depending on the size of the graft and the materials used, it can take 4-9 months before the jaw is strong enough to receive implants. During that time, patients are advised to maintain proper oral care (routine brushing and flossing) and a healthy diet to ensure its success.

What to Read Next

Over to You

Have you had a bone graft done? Or, have you been told you might need one done before you get an implant? Share your experience in the comments!

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39 thoughts on “Dental Bone Graft: Materials, Cost and Procedure

  1. I will be having an implant very soon but I’m hearing that often patients are told that they shouldn’t need a bone graft and then at the time of implant the graft is done. How can I guard against this, and how can I get something other than cadaver or my own bone, if its necessary?

    • To Mary:
      No guarantee; all depends on “open and see’. You should be informed of the possibility of needing graft and the approximate cost.

  2. Um – the average price of a basic augmentation is around $250-$1100??? That’s quite a range. What are the factors that raise the price by $850?

  3. Yesterday, I went to a dentist and was told that I needed a root canal and crown for which they charged my credit card $2200+. After drilling out the filling he decided that the crack was too deep and he did an extraction and bone graft. I was refunded $1700. Which put the procedure at $900, same price as the original root canal.
    Would this be the right price?

  4. After paying over $3200 dollars my dentist removed a bad tooth molar top jaw and filled it with cadaver implant bone. We waited months for the bone to take and heal and when we went to check on it to see when we could do but implants the bone graft failed due to infection. My dentist did not give me antibiotics. To do another bone graft my dentist wants to charge me another $449 dollars to do another bone graft. Is it right to be charged another $449.00?

  5. I am working on my third set of dentures and still have a lot of pain. I am under the care of a prostodontist who is having trouble making dentures which do not hurt. I have had laser surgery and also bone spurs removed in the top of my mouth. I have constant burning and a large gap where the dentist took out some of my bone. I am constantly getting stomach pain from the pain in my mouth. I am going back to the dentist tomorrow because I can not wear the dentures without pain and he just got them back from the lab for the second time. Do you think you can help or should I just wait this is going on since December.

  6. I have a problem, on one side of jaw, my bones are diminishing. I wonder how I would decide on the MD with the right and strong expertise. Bone grafting is a dental surgeon’s expertise or a periodontist’s? What criteria I should set to make the right decision? Is there an association focusing on dental bone crafting?

  7. I just started my implant process. My dentist said I needed bone grafting, which raised the original price of the implant. My implant was $2200 plus $700 for bone grafting. I shopped around before getting the procedure and found that this place was one of the cheapest ones in NYC. The price with my regular dentist was $5200.

  8. I went to Nuevo progresso, Mexico and has 4 teeth removed, two bone grafts and 5 implants. I will return in 6 months to complete the treatment (crowns and abutments). I have one implant with a bone graft completed 5 years ago in Austin, TX that cost just over $5,000. I have all my work done in Nuevo progresso by a maxilla facial surgeon for just under $8,000.

    • Hi Paul,
      I am curious to know how did your dental job go with Neuvo Progresso in Mexico?
      I am having lot of trouble with my teeth and my dentist said I need a bone graft and two bone implants and lot of work with my other teeth. What Doctor did you go to in Mexico? Are they reliable?
      Waiting for your reply.
      Thank You

  9. I am just now finishing up my five implants today and am so grateful. After having an $18,000 bone graph surgery on my upper and lower jaw on both sides. Waiting a few months, then having Pins and caps costing $3000 a tooth. I am all done. The total cost was approximately $33,000. I feel great and I have my smile back. Not to mention, I can chew my food correctly and without pain. Again, I am truly grateful and it sure beats dentures. Oh, thanks to the US Army (active duty) My total cost out of pocket was Zero Dollars.

  10. I just had a tooth extraction and bone graft fine in the same day. But my adventure really started a week before I had this done. It started with throbbing in my lower right molars until I can no longer tell where it is coming from.

    My regular dentist did find anything so they referred me to an Endodontist for a root canal. So, with the doc…turns out I have a cavity in my tooth covered by a bridge (that’s why it did not show up on the xray). So back to the regular doc since the endontist wanted to make sure that my bridge can be saved. So it got pulled then the graft. The pain was really bad for 2 days but I would take 600mg advil n that helped a bit. I’m a bus driver and I worked the following day. I also have a high pain threshold. It’s day 4 now and the swelling has gone down.

    There’s still some pain but I did not take any advils yet. Maybe when I go to bed. Will be returning to work tomorrow then I’m off in the next couple of days. I drive a 40ft bus in San Francisco and managing. Might be different for others but it worked for me so far. Ate oatmeal, rice porridge, beans, for first couple of days. Ithen moved to rice, bean burrito, sushi. I’ve also been using a straw the last couple of days. I do salt water rinse after I eat. Hopefully, the implant won’t be as painful but I think ill make sure I get a couple days off when I do that.The pain is lesser than the throbbing tooth. I would rate the tooth ache an 8 and the extraction/graft a 6-7 that goes lower each day passes. Good luck to anyone getting this done and just rest up.

  11. My son just had 4 implants done and he was not only charged $2500 for each implant, $850 for bone grafting and 700 for member absorption. What is member absorption and should there be a separate charge for it?

  12. For cj and anyone who has a tooth extracted (pulled), do not drink out of a straw or spit out when rinsing for several weeks after the extraction since it can disturb the formation of a clot which is necessary for healing. Also suction through a straw and spitting can cause a very painful dry socket, instead of spitting just let the rinse just dribble out of your mouth. I am actually going through an extracted tooth and implant right now. I was a dental professional for many years.
    Good luck to all.

  13. I have a front baby tooth #23 and needs an implant. I was told by my dentist that I need bone graft. The total fee is $8,400.00. I feel this is too much for a small tooth replacement.

  14. 4 months after my bone graft, i went to my dentist for the first stage of my implant. After drilling my bone, he realized that my lower bone jaw is too narrow to fit in the screw. He suggested to wait for another 2 months to get a CT scan and then he will check if implant is for me. My question is if implant is not for me, can I have a refund or not?


  15. I recently had an extraction and implant stem installed. The Dentist told me that my bone looked great and was able to do the extraction and implant in one session. He told me each step as he worked on my mouth the day of the procedure and not once did he mention adding bone but sure enough it showed up on my bill at $850. I asked him about it and he said he had to do some build up during the procedure. Is there anyway for me to independently determine if the bone work was done, xray or other?

    Thanks for any input or guidance.

    • Pete!! Thanks for your comment; this led me to doing a little more research myself. Did you get any response from the dentist office, re: the $850 charge? Thanks!

    • I am getting an implant due to the failure of a well known dental school to engage in the proper diagnosis techniques for a cracked tooth, which broke while I was making multiple visits to the dentist. The tooth was extracted and biomaterial was added immediately after the extraction. I have to wait four months for the extraction site to heal properly, which includes the biomaterial being properly integrated into the extraction site. My understanding is that your own bone replaces the biomaterial graft over time. There is no way that I am aware of that biomaterial could be placed at the same time as an implant. Simultaneously extracting and placing an implant is a questionable procedure notwithstanding that is advertised and sometimes done. In my online research I have never encountered any reference to placing biomaterial at the same time that a simultaneous extraction/implant is carried out.

  16. My original dentist extract tooth 24 and never discussed about how bone graft or implant. Since we did not go back because my husband got infected due to the incorrect impression he put and found out that night that this dentist had a lot of complaints against her and pending cases at the Board of Dentistry.

    Is there a way that the new dentist of my husband can tell if there was a bone graft done on that tooth as the original dentist is charging $750. My husband is not aware that she did bone graft replacement.

    We are still working this out with Wells Fargo as she pre approved us and she collected the money already.


  17. Wow, this is a great site. I am scheduled for an implant next week. I do not believe the possibility of adding “freeze dried bone” for buildup was discussed; however, now that I am looking at my treatment plan more closely, there is a charge on there for $645.00. Upon calling the surgeon’s office, I was given a not very satisfactory explanation of why that might be a need. Upon reading this comment section I am going to call them back, for a better explanation of why this charge is on there, and at what point the determination will be made if they need that. I was told after the xray, and during the consultation, that “my bone looks great, no need for bone graft”. So, I am confused. And, as I am paying this out of pocket, yes, need that $645.00 explained a little better!!

  18. I went to Great Expressions Dental and was told my bottom molar in the back was cracked all the way and would have to be extracted and have a bone graft done to get ready to have permanent tooth months later. The dentist said that if I didn’t have this done that the tooth on the top would grow down because of no support from a permanent tooth on the bottom.I would like to know if this is a correct statement, as I have read that it is not true.

    • Twenty years ago I broke/cracked four molars and at that time I had one lower extracted because it was a goner and had spent all my insurance trying to save the others. Over the years the upper molar “drifted” down because there was no tooth below it and now it will have to be extracted as well. My dentist had no plan and now I will lose another molar. Your dentist is correct.

  19. I had a fail root canal, which resulted in an infected tooth #18, I went in for extraction, and also completed 1 stage of bone grafting at the same time, I was charged $1200 for bone graft.
    and another 200 for extraction, is this a reasonable rate?

  20. I had two bone grafts in Mexico. He explained the procedure to me because I didn’t know what it was.

    He also told me that he would take some of my plasma and mix it with the bone dust as a special precaution.

    Apparently they put some of your blood in a machine (centrifical force type) and then use your plasma for extra precaution.

    Anyone heard of this or had it done?

  21. I lost after 30 yrs 3 implants [left, upper, the last 3]. The implant dentist got a CT of my upper jaw
    [mandibula] and said that I need a cadaver bone implant. I called an maxilo-facial surgeon across the dental school on Charleston and asked for estimate. She said: $5500.
    Now, I am going to call all the dental surgeons who do grafting and asking for prices. For sure, after the lawyers the dentist are the biggest rip off in this country.

  22. I fractured a front incisor tooth. I had a temp bridge placed and then will have new one -$3300. Inbetween I am to see periodontist who will extract remains of broken tooth and do a bone graft adding my blood.. his cost is $1475. I am a bit overwhelmed but decided not to go implant route since this would end up close to $8000 and take months…..

  23. my dental implant for one tooth is completed today by attaching the crown implant. The whole process took 8 months, from bone grafting to the drilling to crown moulding and the tooth implant. It was a less painful process compared to bridging or crowning the tooth I would say. I would recommend a dental implant although very costly over wearing dentures. I was charged 5k dollars + the cost of the bone grafting procedure. If you need a dental surgeon, I highly recommend my dentist. I am thinking of getting my denture (partial) replaced if I could afford it. The estimated cost for the 4 dental implants is from 25k (includes bone grafting) and will be done in 8-9 months. The price is subject to change by next year. The cost of bone grafting alone for 4 teeth is 8k. Is that a reasonable price or average price. I would not have second thoughts of getting my dental implant done by my dentist.

  24. To prepare for an implant to replace a molar I received a bone craft which cost $800. A few months later when the implant was put in, the Dentist determined that a little more bone should be added. He charged me again $800. Is this reasonable? It seems to me that if the dentist had added enough bone in the first place I wouldn’t have needed more bone on the second visit.

  25. I have severe bone loss in my upper jaw and lost most of my teeth over the years. My Prosthodontist is working with an oral surgeon who will do a sinus lift and remove a block of bone from my hip. I read the hip surgery is extremely painful and in many cases the patient may limb for life. Has anyone received a hip bone graft?

  26. Had front tooth cadvar bone graft and gum graft. Gum graft didnt take so had it done again along with holes drilled into bone graft to make sure it took. Which it did. That was in March of 2015. 5 retainers later im in pain and can not afford the implant or bridge. The procdure cost $5000 which i was told i could set up on a payment plan. The trama was due to domestic violence, hence the reason for the payment plan.They then took that plan of the table and ive never gone back. What are options now. Extremely miserable in florida.

  27. Florida used to have a victim compensation fund to assist with medical bills up to 20k. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline or local women’s shelter and ask to speak to an advocate for more information. Even the prosecuting attorney’s office may have info. Good luck!

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