Many times, you might read of a bone graft being performed in dentistry, but what is dental bone grafting and when is it necessary?
The jawbone supports natural teeth, and it needs to be strong in order to hold teeth in place.
If you are considering dental implants or a fixed dental bridge, the bone needs to be good enough to support them.
When the bone is discovered to be unable to support implants, bone grafting can be performed to add bone where necessary. This might be a small graft to place a single implant, or several grafts where multiple false teeth are required.
- Bone grafts build up the bone area, using one of several procedures available.
- The bone used in the process may be your own, or it may be described as ‘donor bone’.
- Once the procedure has taken place it will need some time before it can be confirmed that the fresh bone has successfully fused with your original jawbone.
It may take several months before dental implants or a bridge can be put in place on the treated area.
Most of the time a dental expert would use you own bone for the procedure.
The bone used may come another part of the jaw, your chin, your hip, or your shin. Obviously, when removing bone from some area it would require more extensive work and even a general anesthetic.
Some dental patients do not want to undergo treatment that involves removing their own bone, and then the option of using donor bone comes into play.
There are types of synthetic bone which can be used, or the bone from a cadaver, along with other options.
Your dentist would discuss all options regarding bone graft material, especially discussing benefits, risks, recovery times, and the procedure itself.
A minor procedure would probably take place at the dental clinic, where the dentist would use local anesthetic. The dentist might also use some form of sedation to relax you while the procedure takes place.
An incision would be required in the location where the grafted bone needs to go. If the bone was coming from your own jaw or chin, then there would need to be an incision in this location too. The required amount of bone would be removed and transplanted to the area needed.
Screws might be used to hold the grafted bone in position, until it is healed, and they would be removed once healing has satisfactorily taken place.
Sutures would be used to close any incisions made, and antibiotics and a mouthwash would generally be given to guard against infection.
After treatment, you would be advised on aftercare, along with advice on eating and the used of dentures if you have them.
Where the treatment is more extensive, there might be no alternative but to carry out the procedure in a dental hospital, under general anesthetic.
Although the bone grafting procedure is known to be highly successful, there is always a chance that it will fail. This might be due to a health condition, other factors, or an unexplained reason. When this happens, your dental expert will usually discuss the chances of repeating the procedure and the expected chances of success.
There are other options available in order to be able to get permanent dental implants and bridges, and a dentist will usually discuss all options so that you can decide which is the best one for you.
If you have only recently undergone extractions and grafting is necessary, it should be much less invasive. If teeth have been removed a long time ago, the restorative treatment may be a little more complex.
Every patient is different, and the treatment you undergo should be tailored specifically to you and your requirements.
Bone grafting is not a trivial procedure, but it is performed with satisfactory results in many cases. Every day advances in dentistry ensure that these types of services become more available to dental patients around the world.