Bone Grafting: The First Step in Rebuilding your Smile
What is bone grafting?
Bone grafting is the process of rebuilding bone where deterioration has occurred. Through the implantation of donor bone into the jaw, Dr. Finkel, Dr. Jacobs, Dr. Kase, Dr. Katz, Dr. Moeller, Dr. Okamoto, Dr. Ross and Dr. Schwartz encourage the body to grow new bone on its own. This procedure is typically done to prepare the jaw for a dental implant, but can be performed for other structural needs as well.
Your teeth do more than just chew and bite. They actually keep your jawbone “in shape” by providing regular stimulation. Without that stimulation, the alveolar bone (the part of the jaw that anchors teeth) dissolves as the body reallocates minerals elsewhere. This process happens relatively fast when you lose a permanent tooth, a common cause of jawbone loss. Other causes include periodontal disease, dentures, trauma, tumors and more.
With jawbone loss, patients face:
- Problems with remaining teeth
- A collapsed facial profile
- Skin wrinkling
- TMJ pain including headaches
- Speech and nutrition problems.
Luckily, there is a fix:
Minor Bone Grafting
There are a variety of types of bone grafting – most of which are considered “minor bone grafting” and are typically done by Drs. Finkel, Jacobs, Kase, Katz, Moeller, Okamoto, Ross and Schwartz in preparation for a dental implant. Dental implants require that there is adequate bone in the jaw. Often, there is not, and that is where bone grafting comes in – to build up bone in preparation for an implant.
Major Bone Grafting
When a significant amount of bone loss has occurred due to trauma, cysts, tumors or a defect, major bone grafting is often required. This advanced process often requires additional materials and technologies and sometimes several specialists.
Where does the new bone come from?
The bone used in grafting can come from a variety of places: your chin, hip, leg, and skull are all common donor sites. In addition to that, bone-grafting materials are sometimes used from bovine (cow) sources, as well as human cadavers. There are pros and cons to each, which will be discussed with you as we determine the best course of action.
What is bone grafting recovery like?
You will be adequately anesthetized during the procedure. However, as with any dental surgery, you may experience some soreness as the anesthesia wears off. Typically, our patients are able to control the pain with over-the-counter medications, and any necessary prescriptions will be discussed at your appointment prior to the procedure. After the procedure, the bone is left alone to heal and grow for three to six months before implants can be placed.
Bone grafting is a safe, reliable and routine procedure these days.