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Have you undergone a bone grafting procedure? Are you wondering whether or not your dental bone graft can get infected?  Look no further because this write-up is for you.

Bone grafting is a type of dental procedure used to build up the jawbone for a firmly secured dental implant placement. Absence of dental implant support caused by natural jawbone insufficiency necessitates a bone grafting procedure.

Bone grafting is critical to the success of dental implant treatments that require a reliable and sufficient jawbone; it allows the jawbone to support the implant.

Tooth loss caused by gum disease, developmental defects, injury or trauma, bacterial infections and dental cavities results in jawbone loss. You may need to undergo a dental procedure to add extra bone to your jaw if your jawbone is not tall, strong, or wide enough to accommodate dental implants.

A typical bone grafting procedure involves grafting or adding either natural bone or artificial bone to the jaw. The grafted bone consists of either your own bone, bone from a donor, or a processed bone for bone support. The graft causes the surrounding jawbone to grow and fuse. Interestingly, a graft bone from your own bone transplant fuses faster to the jawbone than jawbone from other sources.

Several factors influence the bone grafting procedure including, type of conducted bone grafting, location of the insufficient jawbone, and number of dental implants. If your case requires a bone grafting procedure, you should visit your dentist to discuss all available grafting options.


Bone Grafting Material


The best choice for bone grafting material comes from you. Your dentist may take bone from your ramus or chin. However, if bone from these areas close to your mouth cannot be sufficiently extracted, your dentist may pursue bone extraction from your shin or hip. Because it supplies the largest amount of bone, the hip is always considered a better bone grafting resource. However, hip bone extraction also requires general anesthesia and a lengthy hospital stay.

If grafting bone extraction directly from your body does not appeal to you, there are other available options, such as cow bone or human cadaver. Synthetic materials also serve as useful grafting materials.

The advancement in dental technology has led to the development of newer grafting products like bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2). Removing the need for actual bone grafting, this protein stimulates certain body cells and turns them into bone as a substitute. With DNA technology, BMP-2 makes for reliable grafting material.

Before you undergo any grafting procedure, be sure to discuss all available options with your dentist including the risks and benefits associated with each option.

Although jawbone grafting for the purpose of inserting a dental implant has a very high success rate, chances of failure when grafting bone extraction from your body exist. Despite the body’s acceptance of bone graft materials like with organ transplants, reasons behind failed bone grafts are unknown to date. Dentists do however, recognize the higher risks for bone graft failure in patients with medical conditions or smoking habits. Luckily once the area is healed, your dentist can remove and replace the failed bone graft with a second bone graft procedure.

Can a dental bone graft get infected? The answer is yes, a dental bone graft can get infected. Bacteria stemmed from three causes leads bone grafting infection including:

  • Infected dental tools used during the bone grafting procedure
  • Infected bone grafting material
  • Poor post-operative care


Infected Dental Tools


If your dentist uses an infected dental tool during the bone grafting procedure, chances are that you may contract bone grafting infection. Your dentist should sterilize all dental tools before using them to prevent this.


Infected Bone Grafting Material


Using infected grafting material during the bone grafting procedure also results in bone grafting infection for the patient. Though possible infection caused by donated bone rarely occurs.


Poor Post-Operative Care


Because, poor post-operative care can cause unnecessary pain, swelling, and infection, staying vigilant about post-operative oral care is essential. A patient’s inability to follow their post-operative oral care routine makes this the most common cause of bone grafting infection. Following your dentist’s instructions ensures easy prevention.


Immediately After the Dental Bone Grafting Procedure:


  • Your dentist places a gauze pad over the treated area. Leave this gauze pad in place for about 30 minutes to help prevent bleeding.
  • Avoid touching the treated area or rinsing your mouth vigorously. Doing so can dislodge the blood clot and initiate bleeding.
  • Once the local anesthesia wears off, you may experience discomfort, pain or a slight elevation in temperature. Take the prescribed pain medications or OTC painkiller to lessen the impact. Ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin, not to exceed 600mg in 6 hours, are good options, but avoid acetaminophens like Tylenol and Aspirin. Experiencing discomfort and pain after bone grafting is normal and subsides after a few days. Consult your dentist if the discomfort and pain persist beyond that.
  • Restrict your daily activities and only resume your normal activities after you feel comfortable.
  • Place an ice block on the side of your mouth where the grafting was performed.

As stated above, poor post-operative care is the main cause of bone grafting infection, which is a bacterial infection. Bone graft infection treatment using antibiotics helps prevent bacterial infection. If placed on antibiotics, make sure that you take and finish the medication completely as directed. If you experience any rashes or negative reactions, discontinue the medication and contact your dentist immediately.

To learn more about what to do to prevent bone grafting infection, call our office today. If you see signs and symptoms that your bone graft is already infected, don’t hesitate to speak to any of our professional dentists about your bone graft infection treatment.  We are here to help.