In order for a dental implant to be stable and secure, it must be completely covered with bone circumferentially. Unfortunately, sometimes a patient may present with inadequate bone. In a bone graft procedure, the surgeon will take a section of bone from another area of your body, or - as is most often the case now - use a special bone grafting material, and graft it onto your jaw bone. Grafting materials used may be human, cow or synthetic bone. You will then have to wait, 6-10 months, while the graft hardens. It is possible to have the implant placement and the bone graft done at the same procedure, if the bone graft needed is minimal. However the dentist performing the surgery will make the final decision at the time of the surgery. A successful bone graft surgery will create enough bone in height, width and density so that a dental implant can be held firmly.
Unfortunately, the outcome of the procedure is largely dependent on the patients post op compliance. Therefore, the dentist should spend some time with the patient reviewing the post op instructions thoroughly and the patient should follow these instructions diligently.
As with any surgical procedure, it is important to discuss your personal medical history and all the risks and benefits of the surgery with your dental specialist.