Bone grafting

Bone loss can cause problems during dental implant treatments. This problem can be fixed and bone grafting can be performed. With this solution, a patient can receive additional bone mass so implants can be placed successfully. Bone grafts are used in dental restorations that include implants and bridges.

Bone grafting can also be a cosmetic procedure to replace bone around the root of the tooth. This is used when the original bone was decayed due to disease. The grafted bone can be taken from you the patient, taken from another donor or can be synthetic. Grafted bone will act as a foundation which encourages the patient’s own bone to re-grow and it will also help hold existing teeth in place.

The success of bone restoration depends on the width, depth and height of the jawbone. When a jawbone has been damaged or has receded, a graft is recommended so treatment like implants can take place. Without the bone, the implant cannot be supported and the foundation will be unstable.

What affects jawbone volume?

  • Tooth Extraction – Some patients can lose around 40-60% of their bone after a tooth extraction. This lose is believed to occur over three years after the extraction.
  • Injuries – If you injure your jaw the blow can cause the bone to recede.
  • Infections – An infection can also cause bone loss.
  • Periodontal Disease – Disease can affect the jawbone permanently. Over time the affected area will not be able to support teeth and the teeth can become unstable.

Why Would a Bone Graft Be Recommended?

Bone grafting increases the amount of jawbone. It is a very successful procedure in the majority of cases. There are two reasons why a bone graft will be recommended.

  • To Stabilize the Jaw – A bone graft will stabilize the jaw and help restore the jaw foundation. The jaw foundation is necessary for implant surgery. Any deformities can also be fixed and the new structure of bone will provide added support.
  • Preservation – A bone graft can be used to prevent a bone recession or limit the effects. A dentist would consider a bone graft after a tooth extraction, periodontal disease or for other invasive procedures.

What Does Bone Grafting Involve?

  • Oral Examination – To start your dentist will examine the affected area. This is to assess the condition of your teeth and gums. If there are problems like a periodontal disease this will be fixed before the graft can begin. An X-ray will be used to see the depth and width of the bone. Sometimes a CAT scan may be performed to see the bone condition. If needed the dentist may also explore further to see how much bone is needed.

After your examination, your dentist will decide what is the best type of graft for your condition. There are several types of bone grafts to choose from and those are:

  • Autogenous Bone Graft – This graft uses bone from the patient’s body and is usually taken from the lower jaw or chin. Dentists prefer this way because they can predict the finished result more accurately.
  • Allograft Bone Graft – For this graft, a cadaver or synthetic bone is used.
  • Xenograft – A bone from a cow is used in this type of graft.

A bone graft can take several months. When the type of bone is chosen it will be placed on the affected area. The bone will then fuse with the bone already there, which will cause adhesion and cell growth. This new bone will help support implants. During surgery, the extraction and grafting site will be numbed. Next, a small incision will be made for the new bone. Sometimes a synthetic membrane will be used to cover the new bone. This will stop any bacteria getting in and will encourage bone to grow. After the procedure, the dentist will advise you on aftercare and will prescribe any medications needed.