Losing teeth due to periodontitis or any other condition can be a stressful experience. The damage is often irreversible and is the result of bad oral health maintenance and decisions made during our earlier years. Even if you change your habits later in life, the damage could already be done. In fact, around 69% of people aged between 35 and 45 have at least one tooth missing and 26% of people above the age of 75 don’t have teeth at all.
Fortunately, there are procedures to help us recover our smile and restore healthy tooth function. There’s been an increased demand for dental implants as a way to replace missing teeth. Much like natural teeth, these replacements are anchored deep into the jawbone for maximum support. However, you need to have enough bone in your jaw to hold the implant securely. For many people that have lost teeth, the bone will likely have deteriorated. This is a process that starts extremely quickly, melting away the surrounding bone and getting worse the longer a tooth is absent.
Thankfully, bone grafting allows you to get a replacement tooth even if there’s a lack of support for a dental implant in your jaw.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure that aims to repair or rebuild bones by transplanting healthy bone tissue to areas where it is missing. In some cases, the healthy bone will be taken from another part of your body such as your hip. This is known as a major bone graft and requires a general anesthetic to put you to sleep. You’ll also be required to stay at a hospital for a short time to recover.
However, most modern bone grafts will use grafting material that is absorbed by your body and eventually replaced by your own bones. This material can come from many different sources, but it’s commonly made from animal bones or human donor bones that are processed in a laboratory to make them sterile and fit for surgical use. Grafting material can also be synthetic and may come in powder, granule, putty, or even gel form. Here are the terms used for the different types of bone grafting material:
- Autograft: Bone taken from one area of your body and moved to another. This requires two surgical sites to be created and results in a longer recovery time.
- Allograft: Refers to human bone that is processed in a laboratory. This usually comes from a deceased donor at a tissue bank.
- Xenograft: Bone grafting material that comes from an animal such as a cow. This is also processed in a laboratory before being used.
- Alloplast: Made from synthetic materials.
The type of bone grafting material you use will depend on your circumstances and what specialists such as Dr. Richard Newhart will suggest. Bone grafting can be rather daunting to understand, so if you’re interested in the procedure in Marietta, OH, don’t hesitate to contact us at The Gum Doctor today for more information.
Do I Need Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a procedure that prepares a patient for dental implants. Your dentist will examine your mouth and jaw to see if you have sufficient health natural bone to support an implant. If you don’t, then your dentist will recommend a bone grafting procedure to help regenerate bone in your jaw before you receive a dental implant.
If you suffer from gum disease, a facial injury, or have had a missing tooth for a while, then the likelihood of needing a bone grafting procedure increases. When you visit our dental office in Marietta, OH, our team will examine your mouth and jaw to help you decide if a bone grafting procedure is a safe and necessary step to take before you have a dental implant installed.
What to Expect During Surgery
Bone grafting is usually a minor procedure that can take place in a dental office. However, if you’ve opted for or been suggested to undergo a major bone graft, it will require a hospital visit and stay. Since a minor bone graft only requires a small incision, only local anesthesia is used. However, a major bone graft will require you to be put to sleep.
For a major bone graft, the bone is taken from another area of your body such as your hip. An incision is made on your hip and the bone is carefully removed in blocks. The wound is then closed with stitches and the bone can be used to regenerate your jaw bone without the need for processing. If you’re using an allograft, xenograft, or alloplast, then only a single surgical procedure is required.
For the procedure, a small incision is made in your gum to expose the bone. The grafting material is then added, serving as a scaffold for your body to naturally deposit new bone cells, thus rebuilding and regenerating the bone to serve as an anchor for future dental implants. The grafting material is then absorbed by the body and replaced by new bone.
What to Expect After Surgery
You may experience slight soreness in the affected area after a minor bone graft. This can be managed with anti-inflammatory medication or pain relievers. This discomfort eventually subsides and shouldn’t need much attention.
It may also take up to seven months for your bone to fully regenerate to a point that your jaw is ready to accept a dental implant.
How bone graft and dental implants can improve your life
Bone grafts are essential for preparing your jaw for a dental implant. This can help restore your smile, it can result in a healthier set of teeth and it gives you back the ability to chew food without experiencing pain. Dental implants are a fantastic alternative to dentures or bridges, especially if there are no suitable teeth or gums to support them. They are also more sturdy and designed to last over 25 years under the right conditions and with regular maintenance.
If you’d like to learn more about dental implants and bone grafting in Marietta, OH, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today for more information. This video will also help explain more about different types of bone grafting.