Do you picture bone as a tough, rigid material that never changes? In truth, it’s quite the opposite. The bone that makes up our skeleton remodels itself all the time, ever-changing, much like the rest of our anatomy throughout our lifespan. Your body is constantly in the process of depositing fresh bone cells while removing old ones. When it comes to the bone that supports our teeth, this process of “Out with the old, in with the new” can help or hurt us.
The jawbone, for instance, has an ability to adapt that is responsible for orthodontists being able to reposition our teeth with braces. When you lose a tooth as an adult, however, the resulting bone changes can have negative ramifications on your dental health. Today, we at Alexandra Garcia, DDS, MS will be explaining exactly why bone grafts are sometimes necessary and how they may benefit you. If you or a loved one are considering bone grafting treatment and have any questions, please call us to schedule an appointment today at (346) 250-2930.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure commonly performed in our office. Upon making an incision in your gum tissue to access the bone underneath, grafting material is then added. This material is most often processed bone minerals, which your body will then deposit new bone cells around.
Why Should I Get a Bone Graft?
When one or more teeth are lost, the bone that once surrounded them begins a process called resorption. What this means is that the bone tissue essentially melts away. Loss of tooth-supporting bone can also be caused by periodontal (gum) disease. If enough teeth and bone are lost, your facial features will sag and lead to a prematurely aged appearance. Consequently, this may also make treatment to replace your teeth more difficult. Luckily, with today’s bone grafting technology, any missing bone tissue can be rebuilt.
Where Does Bone Grafting Material Come From?
The grafting material can come from the patient’s own body, but more often than not is taken from an animal or human donor that was treated to make the replacement bone tissue safe. It’s even possible these days to create a synthetic bone substance. Grafting material comes in many different forms (powder, granules, putty, a gel injected via a syringe, etc), all of which are covered in a collagen membrane for optimal bone repair. This acts as a scaffolding your body will use to create new bone.
How Is the Procedure Done?
Treatment typically only requires local anesthesia, but oral or IV (intravenous) sedatives are also an option if a patient is nervous and/or wishes to get more relaxed. Because of the little incision needed to access the bone receiving the grafting material, you may feel minimal soreness in the area after surgery is completed. This is generally manageable with over-the-counter medication and/or pain relievers, though ice therapy is another choice for those seeking more natural remedies. Discomfort should only last up to a couple days. Afterward, your body will gradually replace the grafting material with new bone, reversing the resorption process and restoring your quality of bone. This process takes several months.
Benefits of Bone Grafting
|Improved health and appearance.
|Strengthened jawbone, allowing for more effective tooth replacement.
|Increased support to the facial features.
|Saving your teeth. When advanced periodontal disease leads to bone loss, teeth may loosen and be at risk of falling out. To avoid this, the bone around those teeth can be restored via grafting, thereby strengthening bone support that will help keep them in proper position.
|Tooth extraction- Bone grafting material is typically deposited into a tooth’s socket after the tooth is removed. This way, should a patient wish to replace that tooth with an implant later, the option will be available to him/her.
|Dental implants- Implants need adequate bone volume and density to successfully integrate and function. If a patient has experienced prior bone loss, grafting may help regenerate enough bone to apply the implant successfully.
Remember, if you or a loved one are considering seeking bone grafting treatment and have any further questions, please call us today to schedule a visit at (346) 250-2930.