When a tooth is lost, there is trauma to the mouth or a patient has a severe periodontal disease, the jawbone structure in that part of the mouth begins to deteriorate, losing density, height, width or a combination of these. During the diagnostic stage, a dentist may notice that this has occurred to the patients jawbone and thus it will not be strong enough to support dental implants.
In this scenario, bone grafting will be required in order to rebuild the jawbone to a strength and density that will be strong enough to support a dental implant. The complexity of the bone grafting procedure can range from a simple augmentation performed by a dentist to supplement the bone where an implant will be placed, to a very complex augmentation performed by a specialist who will make big changes to the size and shape of the jawbone. Generally speaking, a bone graft can take between 4 to 9 months to heal and become strong enough to support an implant.
The cost of a bone graft can also vary quite significantly and is dependent on several factors including the complexity of the procedure and the source material used for the bone graft.
Bone Grafting Source Materials
Bone grafting is a procedure that essentially adds bone or bone-like material to your existing deteriorated jawbone. There are several materials that can be used, each one having its own strengths and associated costs.
Using bone from your body
Using your own bone from a different part of your body is definitely the safest and most effective source since it will integrate normally with your body with no risk of infection or rejection. It is usually taken from your shin, hip or chin in a block shape that will fit well into the site that needs bone grafting. Combining this block of bone with bone marrow will allow the new bone to integrate with the jawbone over a period of several months.
The main issue with using your own bone is that it will require two surgical procedures; one to remove bone from your body, and another to add the bone to your jawbone. As a result, the cost of using your own bone is much higher than other sources.
Using bone from a human cadaver
Similar to blood banks, there are tissue banks who harvest bones and other tissue from human cadavers. This is another very safe and effective source as it will usually integrate well with your body and only rarely cause infections. Since only one surgical procedure is required, using bone from a human cadaver is less costly than using your own bone.
Using bone from a cow
Another less costly option is to use bone from a deceased cow. This bone source is properly sterilized to minimize the chance of infection and it integrates very well with human bone making it a popular option for bone grafting.
Using a synthetic bone structure
Synthetic bone material, made from minerals, is also another option for bone grafting that is almost as safe as using your own bone. The only disadvantage of this is that since it is a foreign material, there is a higher chance that your body may reject it.
Bone Grafting Cost
As mentioned above, the cost of a bone grafting operation can vary quite significantly depending on the bone source material and the complexity of the procedure.
Simple bone grafting cost
In the case of a simple bone graft that only requires a small amount of external bone source used to supplement the area of the jawbone where the implant will be place, the cost can range between $200 to $1000.
Complex bone grafting cost
A more complex bone graft will usually require a specialist like an oral surgeon to perform a bone graft that will completely reshape the jawbone to support implants. A bone graft with this complexity will take more time and may also require that the bone source material is taken from the patient, causing an even higher cost due to having multiple surgical procedures performed.
As a result, the cost of a complex bone graft can range from $1800 to $3000.