Being told you need a graft of any kind – skin, bone, soft tissue – can be daunting. It sounds like a long and painful process. But with dental bone grafting, that’s simply not true. Grafting the jaw bone to reinforce and restore its integrity is a fairly simple procedure; it’s relatively painless, and recovery happens in a few days. However, no matter how state-of-the-art our method of creating and applying grafts to the jaw bone is, there is still healing time involved, where the patient’s bone integrates with the graft, resulting in stronger, denser bone tissue in the grafted area. Let’s talk about the details of dental bone grafting. You’ll realize, it’s not as scary as you might think.
What is bone grafting for the jaw?
Dental bone grafting is when an oral surgeon cuts into the gum to expose an area of the jaw that has deteriorated, attaches boney material (the graft) where two pieces of bone need to bond, and closes the gum back up. The surgery itself doesn’t take long, and the pain afterwards isn’t any more than a typical tooth extraction.
Why does someone need a dental bone graft?
There are several procedures which may require oral bone grafting to restore or preserve the health of the jaw, and for any subsequent procedures to be effective. These might include:
- Reinforcing the jaw in an area of severe deterioration from missing teeth
- Supplementing bone tissue removed during an impacted wisdom tooth extraction
- Reinforcing bone matter in an empty socket to prepare for dental implant surgery
What’s a jaw bone graft made of?
There are several sources an oral surgeon might use for a dental bone graft:
- Dentin Grafting: The oral surgeon extracts a tooth from somewhere else in the patient’s mouth, grinds it up, reconstitutes it and applies it as an autologous dental graft.
- Autografts: Bone tissue is sourced from the patient from somewhere else in the body. This is the ideal method of replacing lost jaw bone tissue, because a graft made of the patient’s own tissue can’t cause rejection responses from the immune system.
- Allografts: Bone tissue is sourced from another person (typically cadavers).
- Xenografts: Grafting material is sourced from a biocompatible animal (usually cow).
- Alloplasts: Graft source is a non-living natural or synthetic material.
Our oral surgeon performs bone grafting using the dentin method. It’s holistic, sustainable, and the peak of biocompatible because the source of the bone graft is from the patient’s own tooth. More on that later.
What’s involved in healing, and how long does osseointegration take?
You’re under for the procedure, and actual discomfort is minimal, especially if you didn’t have to have bone tissue taken from your hip to make the graft. We’ll tell you to take it easy for a few days, not to use straws, etc.: the typical aftercare we’d recommend after a simple tooth extraction or wisdom tooth removal.
You’ll likely only need OTC painkillers for a couple days, but we do provide prescription painkillers in limited amounts for patients who are in greater discomfort than they had expected. You’ll also be given a course of antibiotics to prevent infection.
Osseointegration, or the process of your jaw bone integrating with the graft, is something you don’t feel, and it occurs over anywhere from a couple months to 6 months or more. It all depends on the patient: age, physical health, extent of damage, and extent of restoration needed.
What complications might happen with a bone graft in the jaw?
With proper aftercare and monitoring, there are rarely complications from a dental bone grafting procedure, especially if it’s autologous. With dentin grafting and autografting, there’s nearly no risks besides the graft simply not taking. Infrequent but possible side effects, usually brought on by adverse physical health and healing processes in the patient, include:
- Blood clots
- Complications with anesthesia
- Nerve damage
How does your Cincinnati oral surgeon perform dental bone grafts?
We use dentin grafting as our preferred method of jaw bone grafting. It’s a state-of-the-art, holistic method of sourcing grafting material. Our oral surgeon will take an extracted tooth and run it through the Smart Dentin Grinder. This machine grinds the tooth up into fine particles that are cleaned and then applied to the site. It takes less than 10 minutes to generate the graft, all right here in our office!
This method of bone grafting for jaw restoration has several benefits, including increased rates of success and healing time regarding the osseointegration. Since there are living cells in the graft, the body immediately starts pulling resources towards the graft when it’s applied. Also, most of the time, we don’t need all the graft material we created, meaning we can save the extra material should you need more dental bone grafting down the line.
Dentin grafting has changed the “face” of bone grafting for the jaw. It’s increased the number of patients who have successful osseointegration; it’s reduced healing time, which also means reduced time for the dental implant process; and it’s allowed our oral surgeon to efficiently create autografts from recycled material in a way that doesn’t interfere with the patient’s body. And as patient comfort, cost management, and efficient treatment are our main foci for every patient we see, the process of getting a dental bone graft at our Cincinnati oral surgery practice is a breeze.