Bone grafting is used when dental patients have bone loss in the upper or lower portions of their mouth. Most bone loss is due to periodontal disease. This disease condition causes the healthy bone around teeth to be destroyed, which causes loose teeth and leaves less healthy bone to support existing teeth or appliances such as dental implants, partial dentures or dentures.
By restoring bone structure in the mouth, the jaws can support teeth and dental implants, extending the life of your smile. The proper amount of bone also improves the aesthetic appearance of your teeth, as advanced bone loss causes an extended amount of the tooth root to show.
There are various forms of bone grafts. The type of graft needed is based on the location and extent of the bone loss, what type of restorative treatments will be performed (such as dental implants), functional needs and appearance. One type of graft surgery is a sinus lift, which is for upper back teeth when a dental implant needs to be placed in that area. Another form of dental bone grafting is a socket preservation graft, which is placed in the socket area after a tooth has been extracted, to prevent associated bone loss.
Placing a bone graft in the mouth allows the graft as well as the natural bone to fuse and regrow bone in an area where there no longer is any. Most grafts associated with dental implants are usually performed up to a few months prior to the implant surgery to allow for full bone regrowth in that area. This allows the dental implant to be placed in a stable site that can support normal chewing forces.
Bone grafting is needed in cases where the dental patient does not have enough natural bone structure for tooth replacement treatments or therapies such as dental implants. Bone loss is usually due to periodontal disease, and is evident on dental x-rays. Other factors that may cause bone loss include osteoporosis or extended wear of dentures. In the case of denture wear, failing to remove the dentures at night increases the stress on our natural bone structure, triggering bone resorption over time. This will present itself as loose, ill fitting dentures.
When the bone level in the jaw has receded, there may not be enough structure to support appliances such as dental implants. By performing a bone graft, a piece of bone structure can be placed in the area where more support is needed. This may be the patient’s own bone, synthetic bone, or donor bone. Once placed in the surgical site, the bone is allowed to grow and fuse with the natural bone already in place. Bone grafting allows a more stable environment to support necessary dental treatment for the patient to function normally.
Over time, the bone graft heals and provides a stable, healthy environment to support dental implants. In some cases it does take several months to see the full results of the graft. Once the implant is placed, it is more secure and stable enough to support replacement teeth.
Dental implants are one of the most natural options of tooth replacement available to today’s dental patient. Bone grafting can help make dental implants an option for many patients. If you’ve wondered whether or not you are a candidate for dental implants, call your dentist or oral surgeon for a consultation.
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