Many people think their bones are hard materials that don’t change, but bone is constantly remodeling itself by depositing new cells and removing aging or dead ones. The jawbone is adaptable in that a skilled orthodontist can use braces or other prosthetic devices to reposition teeth. On the other hand, if an adult loses a tooth, the resulting changes in the jawbone can cause considerable problems.
Effects of Tooth Loss
When you lose a tooth, the underlying jawbone that supports it starts to resorb or deteriorate. Gum disease can also produce this effect in the jawbone. If you lose too many teeth and too much bone mass, your facial features will start sagging, making for an aged appearance. Replacing your missing teeth will also become more difficult.
Thanks to modern grafting methods, we can rebuild lost bone. These methods, along with tooth restoration, can strengthen your jawbone and provide your facial features with the support they need.
What is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure where a small cut is made in the gum to access the underlying bone and add grafting material. Your body will use this grafting material to regenerate new bone cells.
What is Bone Grafting Material and how is it made?
This grafting material comes from processed bone materials, either from your own body or from an animal or human donor. If it’s from a donor, our laboratory will treat the bone to ensure that it is sterile and safe to use. Synthetic substances are also used. A variety of forms exist, including granules, powder, putty or gel injected through a syringe. The graft, which is usually enclosed by a collagen membrane to protect it during the repair process, acts as a scaffold upon which your body will generate new bone.
How are Bone Grafts Used?
Bone grafts have many applications within dentistry, which include the following.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Patients who have suffered bone loss due to severe periodontal disease are at risk of their teeth loosening and falling out. The surrounding bone will need grafting so it can start regenerating and support your teeth again.
It’s surprisingly common to place bone grafting material into a tooth socket after extracting a tooth. This will make it easier to insert a dental implant to replace the tooth later on. For maximum success, dental implants need good bone density and volume. Even if you haven’t suffered tooth loss, you may still need bone grafting if you don’t have enough bone mass to support an implant.
Even though the bone graft procedure usually only requires local anesthesia, IV or oral sedatives are also used to achieve a deeper level of relaxation. One of our specialists will make a small cut in the gum tissue to expose the bone that will receive the graft, so the affected area may feel sore following the procedure. However, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or pain relievers, along with ice packs, should take care of this.
If you experience any discomfort after the surgery, it shouldn’t last more than one or two days. In the next several months, your body will regenerate bone to replace the graft, restoring your bone quality.
For more information, please contact our office at 214-363-9946.