Bone grafting is usually associated with dental restorations such as dental implants and bridge work. In most cases, factors such as the width, depth, and height of the jawbone at the implant site can determine the success of a dental restoration procedure. When the jawbone is damaged or has receded, it cannot support the implant (s), and bone grafting is usually the recommended solution.
There are factors that affect jaw bone volume:
- Periodontal Disease – this is one of the conditions that can cause permanent damage to the jaw. Affected areas usually get worse gradually, making the teeth unstable.
- Tooth Extraction – research has established that patients who have had a tooth extracted could lose up to 60% of the bone around the extraction site within the following three years. Bone loss leads to what is referred to as “bone defect.”
- Injuries and Infections – dental injuries and other forms of injuries that result from a blow to the jaw can result in the recession of the bone. The jawbone can also recede as a result of infections.
Reasons for bone grafts
Bone grafting is a procedure with a high success rate. It is seen as an alternative to dealing with diseased teeth, missing teeth, or tooth deformities. Bone grafting can be used to increase the width or height of the jawbone and fill in defects and void in the bone.
Bone grafting can positively enhance the stability and health of the teeth in two ways:
Jaw Stabilization – bone grafting helps in restoring the foundation of the jaw for an implant or restorative surgery. It can also be used to correct deformities as well as restructure the bone.
Preservation – bone grafting can help prevent or limit bone recession after a periodontal disease, tooth extraction, or other invasive processes.
First, the dentist examines the affected area thoroughly to know the overall condition of gums and teeth. If there is a presence of periodontal disease, or adjacent teeth are not in a good state, this issues will be fixed before the commencement of the bone grafting procedure. The dentist also recommends panoramic x-rays so as to reveal the real width and depth of the existing bone. Sometimes, CAT scan is recommended to assess the condition of the bone.
Depending on these outcomes, the area may be anesthetized to make it easy to explore into the gum to determine the amount and the type of bone required.
What Does Bone Grafting Involve?
Bone grafts are of different types. Your dentist will choose the best option for your condition.
Autogenous Bone Graft – this is usually harvested from the body of the patient (often from the posterior part of the chine or lower jaw). It is the most preferred method, as its results are the most predictable.
Allograft Bone Graft – this type of graft makes use of synthetic bone or Cadaver.
Xenograft – this type of graft makes use of cow bone.
Bone grafting can require months to complete. Typically, bone is taken from another part of your body (or sometimes obtained from a “bone bank”) and used on the affected part. The added bone fuses with the existing bone and the movement of cells results in cell growth and firm adhesion. When the jawbone is supplemented, its mass increases and it can effectively support implants.
During the surgery, the dentist ensures that the extraction and grafting sites are numb. A small incision which prepares the site for the new bone will be made. Sometimes the new bone may be covered with a synthetic membrane. This membrane aids in the growth of a new bone, and also prevents bacterial and soft tissue invasion. The surgery does not require that one stay overnight and you will be handed comprehensive post-operative care instructions. The dentist will also prescribe medications to help you manage swelling, discomfort, and infection.