Alveolar Bone Graft

Your child may also have a cleft in the alveolus or upper jaw. An alveolar bone graft is used to fill in the gap between the teeth. Orthodontic preparation is required to expand the alveolus and is begun when the first molar teeth have erupted (around age 6). At the time of surgery a small, straw-like instrument removes spongy hip bone for grafting.


  • Close the hole or fistula defect in the upper jaw so speech in improved.
  • Provide solid bone for the teeth to erupt through or for the teeth to be moved around orthodontically.
  • Unify the upper jaw in a nice arch form that will match the lower jaw.
  • Provide support for the base of the nose for more facial and nose balance.


Dr. Bradley has pioneered techniques that reduce pain from the alveolar grafting techniques. At times, he used a GPP at initial cleft lip repair to reduce the need for an alveolar bone graft. If required, he prefers more minimally invasive techniques that minimize hospital stays and reduces hip pain.


  • When is an alveolar bone graft performed?

After orthodontic alveolar widening the bone graft is performed around age 6-8 years with the use of nearby flaps of mucosa (gums).

  • How long is the surgery/recovery?

The surgery takes 2 hours and requires a 23-hour stay. During the 2 week recovery specific attention to pain control is given.