The bones in our bodies constantly shift and reshape. When our bodies change, our bones adapt. The jawbone is particularly adaptable and can respond to any change that occurs within it. This process can be both good and bad.
When you have a space in your mouth from a missing tooth, the jawbone starts to melt away or atrophy. Not only does the loss of bone density create an issue for dental implants, but it can also cause your teeth and facial structure to shift.
Fortunately, advances in technology make it possible to grow bone where needed through the process of bone grafting. This procedure allows oral surgeons to place dental implants and restore functionality to the mouth properly.
What is Dental Bone Grafting?
Dental bone grafting is a surgical procedure that is typically performed by an Oral and Maxillofacial (OMF) surgeon. Its purpose is to repair the areas of the mouth that have inadequate bone structure and prepare the jaw for a dental implant. Bone loss can be due to previous extractions, gum disease, congenital disabilities, or injury.
A small incision is made into the exposed gum to gain access to the bone underneath. Once the OMF surgeon can access the bone, he or she adds a grafting material to the site. The grafting material can be obtained from either a tissue bank or your own bone. The body recognizes the bone material and then works to deposit more minerals in the area, thus building more bone.
Treatments that Use Bone Grafts
The dental industry uses bone grafts to treat both medical and cosmetic conditions. Bone grafting is often the first step in preparing the jaw for another procedure. They are typically used to accomplish the following goals:
- Preserve Teeth – Periodontal disease can cause teeth to loosen over time. Bone grafting helps preserve the structure of the jaw to prevent teeth from falling out.
- Tooth Extractions – When a tooth is extracted the socket is left exposed. Bone grafts are often inserted into the bone to prepare the socket for an implant later on.
- Dental Implants – Replacing a tooth with a dental implant requires good bone structure. Bone grafting can help build up the jaw bone to make for a successful implant.
Depending on your goals and the condition of your jawbone, a bone graft uses either a local or intravenous anesthetic. Because the OMF surgeon is making an incision, it’s common to experience some soreness afterward. Anti-inflammatory medication and ice can help reduce pain and swelling in the first few days. If the pain persists or worsens, contact your OMF surgeon.
Your bone should rebuild itself within a couple of months, and you will be ready for your next steps.
Hundreds of people each year undergo bone grafting procedures to help restore their bodies. Though it’s a seemingly minor procedure, you should still ensure that a high-quality surgeon does your procedure. Dr. Nancy Herbst of Union City Oral Surgery has over 25 years of experience performing oral and maxillofacial surgeries throughout the New Jersey area and is eager to help you. Contact our office at (201) 601-9262 to schedule your appointment today.