Patients who have lost one or multiple teeth are often advised to receive a dental implant. However, since implants require a strong alveolar bone with enough volume to support them, the procedure can be quite difficult in certain cases. Right after losing a tooth, our body begins a natural process where it reabsorbs the edentulous (toothless) area of our jawbone, as a response to the lack of stimulus that was once provided by it. This process is continuous, and throughout a single year, even 25% of the jawbone could be compromised. However, at Summerbrook Dental Group we can prevent or repair the effect of resorption with a bone grafting procedure.
Bone Graft and Grafting Materials
A bone graft is a simple and predictable surgical procedure that intends to promote natural bone regrowth by providing it enough space to do so. This is done by placing a minimal piece of bone grafting material at the site. This material is commonly taken from a nonessential bone of a patient, a human or animal donor, or from synthetic material. As your jawbone gradually starts to generate new bone cells, the grafting material will be completely replaced.
In order to determine if you are a candidate for a bone graft, comprehensive consultation with our team will be needed. If your jawbone is strong enough to hold an implant, then we may suggest that one be placed as soon as possible, so it does not stay at risk of resorption.
Types of Bone Grafting Procedures
Various types of bone grafts suit different cases and needs. A socket graft procedure, for instance, intends to preserve an exposed edentulous area so the jawbone does not reabsorb it, until the patient can receive an implant. It takes place the same day a patient has a tooth extracted.
A block bone graft, in contrast, is generally required for patients who have already lost a significant amount of jawbone density. If the grafting material is being taken from your body, it will usually come from a part of the chin or back of the jaw. If required, the block will be shaped to better fit in the desired space, and it will be attached to your jaw with two tiny titanium screws.
When the upper molars are lost, the sinus membrane may reach downward to fill up the gaps. If this happens, a sinus lift will be needed to return it back to its original place, and to safely seal the exposed space with a bone graft.
The Recovery Process
Due to the nature of the procedure, you may experience minimal bleeding, swelling, or soreness at the surgical site. However, these can be treated with over-the-counter medications or with a cold compress. Some bone graft recoveries involve certain dietary restrictions and care considerations, which we will explain to you. After a bone graft, it can take up to a year for your jawbone to fully restore, although the time may be shorter depending on the patient.
If you or someone you know has suffered from a tooth loss that has led to jawbone resorption, the bone grafting procedure can allow you to receive an implant, restoring your ability to enjoy the complete smile you most deserve. For further information, please contact us here at Summerbrook Dental Group at 720-882-9988 today.