Bone graft surgery for dental implants can be broken into two categories:
The first is placing the Bone Graft into the area with delayed Dental Implant Placement. This kind of bone graft is considered pre-surgical ridge augmentation. Generally, this is done when the area to be grafted has had an extensive infection which has destroyed the native bone and compromised the success of placing a Dental Implant. In this situation, the infected area is cleaned, and new bone is added (this acts as a scaffold to allow the persons body to replace it with their own natural bone). The site is revisited after 3-6 months of healing and a Dental Implant can be placed.
In the absence of infection, the area can undergo bone loss simply based off of time without a tooth present. The teeth hold the bone levels and without a tooth present, the jaw bones can lost over time. In this event, pre-surgical ridge augmentation AKA Bone Graft Surgery may be necessary prior to placing the Dental Implants, as described above.
The second kind of Bone Graft Surgery is when the Bone Graft is done at the time of Dental Implant placement. This type of Bone Graft Surgery is usually done when the site is 75% of the way intact, but with only one portion of the bone in question. The Dental Implant is placed and Bone Graft is added to the area similar to the way potting soil is added when re-potting a plant. The newly added bone heals around the dental implant and the original defect is repaired.