While many people think of skin grafts when they think of tissue grafting, other parts of the body can also receive grafts. These include tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. A bone graft is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting bone tissue from one site to another. When it comes to repairing the jawbone, dental bone grafting may be the best (or even the only) solution.
Below is more information about the dental bone grafting procedure, why you may need a dental bone graft, and aftercare.
Why Dental Bone Grafting?
There are a couple of reasons why a dental bone graft may be needed. If you have severe periodontal disease, your teeth may fall out or need to be extracted. If you’ve had an accident, your teeth may have been knocked out. In either of these cases, the teeth need to be replaced. If they aren’t, over time, the bone in the jaw will begin to weaken and lose its density. The jawbone will become soft and thin. Once this happens, a dental bone graft will be required to repair the damage from a missing tooth or teeth.
The Benefits of Bone Grafting
There are a couple of benefits to a bone graft procedure. One is cosmetic. What people don’t realize is, without a tooth or replacement in place to maintain the integrity of the jawbone, the jawbone will deteriorate over time. This actually changes the way your face looks! Your jawbone supports the muscle and skin in your face. A bone graft will help to support the muscle and skin in your face.
Without a strong jawbone, a tooth replacement can be much more difficult. If this is the case, you will be limited with which types of repair are available. If you have a tooth extracted or it is knocked out, you may be able to get a dental implant placed. This offers strength and longevity, while also supporting the jawbone. If you wait too long, though, placing a dental implant may be much more difficult. You’ll eventually need a bone graft to place a dental implant. While it’s best to avoid this scenario, a bone graft is beneficial when this is the case.
Speak with your dentist at Oxboro Dental about whether or not you are a candidate for a bone graft, and what the benefits are for a bone grafting procedure.
The Bone Grafting Procedure
The process of bone grafting begins with a trip to the dentist where they can x-ray the jawbone and see if a graft is needed. From there, an oral surgeon will choose a material and perform the procedure. The bone for the graft may come from a donor, an animal, or even your own bone tissue. The bone will be tested before placement for any diseases. It is also cleansed of any DNA.
If you opt for using your own bone, a second surgery will be required.
There are three main jawbone grafting procedures the surgeon may perform. The first is a bone substitute. This involves a larger piece of graft and even a membrane or flap to help with healing. The second is socket grafting. This focuses on the jawbone under a missing tooth. Finally, there is a graft that involves the replacement of a severe amount of bone that was lost. This requires larger chunks of bone to be placed, along with the introduction of titanium screws to hold the graft in place. This promotes regeneration.
After your procedure, you’ll need to take good care of your oral health but also avoid the surgical site for a period of time specified by the dentist when brushing and flossing. It’s good to rinse your mouth out with warm saltwater four to five times a day for a few days. This is especially so after meals. It’s very important to visit your dentist for x-rays so they can check the healing process.
The initial soft tissue healing process will take a couple of weeks, then you’ll need to wait around three to six months for the bone to fully regenerate. Larger grafts will take longer to heal.
Once your bone has healed, your dentist can move forward with any replacement procedures. This includes dental implants. If you have a missing tooth, a single implant will be placed. For multiple missing teeth, your dentist may decide on a bridge or even implant-supported dentures.
In order to avoid a tooth falling out or needing to be extracted in the future, it’s extremely important to take continuous care of your oral health. This means brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day, every day. You also need to visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup. If your jawbone has deteriorated, there is a good chance you either haven’t visited the dentist in the last six months or have turned down a replacement. Don’t wait in the future. If another tooth or teeth fall out or need to be extracted, consider replacement options immediately.
If your teeth are knocked out due to an accident, schedule an appointment with a dentist for as soon as possible. Don’t wait for your next checkup. The issue needs to be addressed immediately. If you are involved in contact sports, make sure you are using a mouthguard to decrease the chances of a tooth or teeth being knocked out.
If you have any questions about dental bone grafting for your jawbone, reach out to Oxboro Dental. We will discuss the process with you and schedule you for an appointment so your dentist can perform x-rays and see the extent of the deterioration. From there, an appointment for the grafting procedure can be booked.
If you have recently lost a tooth, contact us. We will take a look and see what option is best to meet your needs.
We look forward to speaking with you and helping with the repair of your jawbone and the replacement of your missing tooth or teeth.