Nobody wants to lose a tooth. But if you don’t replace the tooth through a dental implant or other less costly dental procedure like a bridge or dentures, your jawbone will deteriorate. Your jawbone is literally trying to reabsorb the area where the missing tooth was. This can make it difficult for your jawbone to accept a dental implant in the future.
That’s why we always encourage dental implant surgery immediately following a tooth extraction. It’s always best to preserve the jawbone. But it can be difficult to afford dental implants, especially since most insurance companies consider them to be cosmetic and don’t cover them.
The good news is if you do suffer from bone disintegration, there is something we can do to strengthen the jawbone to accept a dental implant. Dental bone grafting is an oral surgical process of grafting new bone to your existing jawbone to strengthen it. The process isn’t as painful as it sounds. In fact, it’s a relatively minor procedure and you shouldn’t feel a thing during the surgery.
Why You May Need Dental Bone Grafting
Most people need dental bone grafting because their jawbones are not strong enough to accept a dental implant. But some patients may also need it to strengthen their jawbone after suffering from periodontal disease. Teeth that are misaligned can also lead to bone loss. You may need a dental bone graft to support your jawbone for misaligned teeth. This will ensure there’s enough jawbone support once your teeth are back in alignment.
Do You Need a Dental Bone Graft?
Have you lost an adult tooth? Have you suffered severely from gum disease? Chances are you’re a good candidate for a dental bone graft. Your dentist may refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon to do the procedure.
Types of Dental Bone Grafts
There are many different types of dental bone grafts. Which one is right for you depends on your unique medical situation.
This type of dental bone graft is for people who have lost some of the molars on the upper row of teeth. The sinuses may start to reach downward into the gap from the missing teeth. We do a sinus lift to repair the sinus. And then we repair the gap with a bone graft.
You get a socket graft at the same time you have a tooth extracted. This will help prevent the bone loss following a tooth extraction. The procedure prevents your body from reabsorbing the bone near where the tooth was. This way your jawbone will support a dental implant, if you decide that’s the best option for tooth replacement.
Block Bone Graft
This is where a maxillofacial surgeon takes bones from the back of your jawbone, close to your wisdom teeth. We usually do this for serious cases of bone loss that need extra support.
How Does a Bone Graft Work?
We usually use bone from your own body. This commonly comes from the back of the jawbone or elsewhere on your body.
Sometimes we get human donors or take the bone from an animal
First, we’ll give you anesthesia to the affected area. Next, we’ll clean the area. Then we make an incision in the gum line and separate it from the bone where we are going to graft new bone. We’ll place new bone between the bone areas that will then grow together. We secure the bone graft with an adhesive material that will eventually dissolve. We sew the incision up so it can heal.
Recovery from a Dental Bone Graft
Once the dental bone graft is complete, we’ll wrap the area in gauze. We’ll give you instructions on how to change the dressing. We’ll also prescribe you antibiotics to ward off infection. It’s important that you continue to take all of the antibiotics as prescribed to avoid the possibility of infection.
We’ll also prescribe you extra strength pain relievers.
You’ll need to eat a special diet of soft foods, soups, and yogurt to avoid stressing the affected area. Avoid eating anything hard like nuts or hard candy. Treat any swelling with an ice pack or package of frozen veggies.
Sleep with your head elevated. This way, blood won’t gather at the dental implant and cause swelling.