What are Bone Grafts?
At Oral Surgeons PC in Des Moines, we use bone grafts to address the problem of jawbone loss. For instance, dental bone grafts are commonly used to improve jawbone volume and density to enable placement of dental implants.
Our patients often have many questions about bone grafts. If you’re reading this, you probably share their curiosity. You may have been told a dental bone graft would be beneficial for you. Continue reading to find out all you need to know about bone grafts.
How Does Bone Grafting Work?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure to repair and rebuild areas of deficient or missing bone. It works because natural bone tissue renews itself if it has room to grow. Bone grafting provides a framework on which natural bone tissue can regenerate. As natural bone grows, it replaces the graft material to form a fully integrated area of new, healthy bone. Grafting material can be taken from a variety of sources, and grafts are used to repair bones almost everywhere in the body.
Bone Graft Materials
There are four kinds of bone graft material:
- Autograft, with bone from the patient – the standard type of dental bone graft.
- Allograft – using human bone from a tissue bank.
- Xenograft – with bone from an animal.
- Alloplastic graft – using synthetic bone developed in a lab.
Types of Dental Bone Grafts
Bone grafts are common in dentistry. A dental bone graft is typically used to remedy jawbone loss. Bone grafting may be recommended after tooth extraction, to repair damage caused by gum disease, or to rebuild the jaw before getting artificial teeth such as dentures or implants. Types of bone grafts in dentistry include:
If you have teeth that have been missing for some time, supporting jaw bone may deteriorate. Ridge augmentation increases bone volume and width so it can provide a secure foundation for implants or other type of restoration.
Ridge preservation is also known as socket preservation. This type of graft is placed in a tooth socket immediately after extraction. It fills the gap left by the missing tooth and prevents the socket from collapsing in.
Periodontal Bone Graft
Infection from gum disease (periodontal disease) can destroy jawbone. This can cause teeth to become unstable. A periodontal bone graft is placed around a tooth to provide additional support.
A sinus lift – also called sinus augmentation – is performed ahead of a dental implant procedure when bone height in the upper jaw is lacking or sinuses are too close to the jaw. Sinus augmentation lifts sinus membrane to make room for bone graft material between the upper jaw and the maxillary sinuses on either side of the nose.
The Bone Grafting Procedure
Modern bone grafting in dentistry is in many cases a relatively minor, minimally invasive surgical procedure done in the dental office with local anesthetic. It usually takes 45 to 90 minutes, with bone being taken from another part of the jaw.
Before the procedure, your oral surgeon will assess the condition of your teeth and gums, and scans or X-rays will be taken to determine the extent of bone loss. The procedure entails making a minor incision in the gum to expose the underlying bone and facilitate placement of grafting material. The body then absorbs the graft over time and replaces it with new bone.
Recovery After a Dental Bone Graft
Initial recovery following a dental bone graft usually takes around two weeks. It can take several months for a solid bone mass to form, depending on the type of grafting material and complexity of the procedure. Your Des Moines oral surgeon will give you aftercare guidance to follow as the new bone grows, such as avoiding certain foods.
You may experience discomfort, swelling and bruising for a few days after your bone graft. This is normal, and these side effects can be managed with pain relief medication. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. You might notice tiny fragments of bone in your mouth. This isn’t usually a cause for concern, but it’s advisable to call your oral surgeon for peace of mind that the healing process is on track.
Major Dental Bone Grafting
A major bone graft is performed when a larger amount of bone is required to rebuild the jaw. This type of procedure is often necessary to repair serious jaws defects caused by factors such as a congenital disorder, physical injury, or tumor surgery. Major bone grafting is carried out in an operating room under general anesthetic and requires a short hospital stay. The bone to be grafted is usually taken from the hip, cranium, or knee.
Dental Implants and Bone Grafts
For people missing one or more teeth, dental implants provide a popular option because of their advantages over other methods of tooth replacement. A sufficient amount of healthy jawbone is essential to anchor implants. However, jaw bone can deteriorate in certain circumstances.
If you’ve lost teeth but not replaced them, jawbone can wither away in the absence of stimulus from a tooth root – much like muscle atrophies without exercise. Wearing dentures for many years can also weaken jawbone, and inflammation caused by gum disease infection can attack the jaw.
In cases like these, dental bone grafts play a crucial role in facilitating dental implant treatment by rebuilding healthy jawbone. Once you have implants, your jawbone will continue to remain healthy. Implants are unique in dentistry in promoting bone growth. The implant fuses with jaw bone to become part of your jaw.
Do You Need a Dental Bone Graft?
Dental bone grafts have a high success rate. They increase eligibility for implants and other dental restorations by restoring jawbone to health after an injury, tooth loss, or gum disease. If you suspect your jawbone is deteriorating – especially if you want to get dental implants – a dental bone graft by our Des Moines oral surgeons can restore your oral health and functionality. Contact us to schedule a dental bone graft consultation.