Dental Bone Graft: Materials, Cost and Procedure

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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.

Cost of Bone Graft in Other Countries

Costa Rica
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

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!

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

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!

  4. 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.


  5. 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.

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