Our bones are rigid, but they are not unchanging. In fact, bone is constantly remodeling itself, depositing new cells and removing the old. Skilled orthodontists utilize the adaptability of the jawbone when placing braces or other prosthetic devices to reposition the teeth or jaws.
This function of the jawbone can have a negative impact, however, when an adult loses a tooth.
Effects Of Tooth Loss
When you lose a tooth, the jawbone underneath can begin to resorb or deteriorate due to a lack of stimulus from chewing and grinding. Gum disease can produce the same effect. Your teeth and jawbones are primary structures of your facial features, and the loss of too many teeth or too much bone mass can have a significant, aging effect on appearance. Facial features may begin sagging or weakening. The loss of bone mass around the jaw will also make replacing teeth much more difficult.
To remedy lost bone, modern grafting methods can help rebuild a deteriorated jaw. Both bone grafting and tooth restoration can ultimately strengthen your jawbone and provide your facial features with much-needed support.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that utilizes grafting material to help the body regenerate new bone cells. Grafting material can be created from processed bone materials. These processed bone materials can be your own or a donor’s. When receiving grafting material from a donor, our laboratory treats the bone to ensure it is sterile and safe to use. A variety of synthetic substances can also be used in creating this grafting material, often taking the form of granules, powder, putty, or gel injected through a syringe. When applied, the graft itself will act as a scaffold upon which the body will generate and build new bone.
During the bone grafting process, a small cut is made in the gums to access the underlying bone. The surgeon adds grafting material before enclosing the graft in a collagen membrane; this membrane will protect the graft during the repair and recovery process.
How Are Bone Grafts Used?
Bone grafts can have many dental applications, including the following:
Preventing Tooth Loss
Patients with severe periodontal disease often suffer bone loss, placing their teeth at risk of loosening and falling out. To provide the teeth with more support, bone grafting material can be added to aid in bone regeneration.
Bone grafting material is commonly placed into a tooth socket after extraction in preparation for a dental implant. Dental implants rely on strong bone volume and density for a successful outcome. Some dental implant patients, including those who have not yet suffered tooth loss, may also lack adequate bone mass and require bone grafting.
Although a bone graft procedure can be completed under local anesthesia, our office also provides IV or oral sedatives to achieve a deeper level of comfort and relaxation. Due to the incision required to expose the bone, the affected area will likely be sore following the procedure. Ice packs and basic over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or pain relievers are enough to take care of pain during recovery.
Any post-operative discomfort should not last longer than one or two days. Bone regeneration will take place over the next several months to restore bone quality.
For any questions or concerns regarding the bone grafting process, please contact our office at 214-363-9946.