The Basics of Dental Bone Grafting: What It Is and How It Works
If you’re considering Dental Implant surgery but don’t have the sufficient jawbone support necessary for this treatment, you may have heard about Bone Grafting. But what is it? Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that involves adding bone or a substitute material to the jaw to repair or rebuild lost or damaged bone structure. This procedure is often necessary to support dental implants or improve jaw structure. In this blog post, we’ll go over the basics of bone grafting and how it works.
What Is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that adds volume and density to your jaw to repair areas where bone loss has occurred. We normally add bone from your own body (autogenous). However, in some instances, the bone graft material may be synthetic (alloplast). A bone graft acts as a seedbed of collagen and proteins that encourage your bone tissue to grow and regenerate. Our dentists might combine a bone graft with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) taken from a sample of your blood to promote healing and tissue regeneration.
When Might You Require Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is often necessary to rebuild the jawbone to support dental implants or improve jaw structure. But, you may require a bone graft for several other reasons, such as losing a tooth. After tooth loss, you can experience 25% bone loss at the site after one year if an implant or bridge hasn’t replaced the tooth. You may also lose bone after experiencing Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease), trauma, injury, or surgery.
You’ll most likely require a bone graft for the following cases:
- After having a tooth extracted
- If you’re planning to replace a missing tooth with an implant
- If you need to rebuild the jaw before getting dentures
- If you have areas of bone loss due to gum disease or trauma.
How Does Bone Grafting Work?
The exact process of bone grafting will depend on your specific needs. However, these are the general steps followed in most cases:
1) Anaesthesia: The first step in the bone grafting process is administering anaesthesia to the patient. This can be local anaesthesia, which numbs the area we’re treating. You can also ask for conscious IV sedation if it makes you feel more comfortable.
2) Incision: The next step is to make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone. The size and location of the incision will depend on the patient’s specific needs.
3) Grafting material: Once the bone is exposed, we will place the bone grafting material into the area. This can be either natural bone taken from another part of the patient’s body (autogenous) or synthetic material designed to act like bone (alloplast).
4) Closure: The incision is closed after issuing the grafting material.
5) Recovery: Most patients will need to take it easy for a few days after the procedure and may need to take pain medication.
There are four main methods of bone grafting depending on your needs. These methods include:
- Socket Preservation: Socket preservation, also known as ridge preservation, involves placing a graft in the socket immediately following tooth extraction. The graft helps to fill the space left by the missing tooth and prevents the socket walls from collapsing.
- Ridge Augmentation: If you have been missing teeth for a while, the jawbone supporting your teeth may be thinner than it was previously. To provide a stable foundation for implants or other restorative options, we can perform a ridge augmentation to increase the width and volume of the jawbone.
- Sinus Lift: The maxillary sinuses are located above your upper back teeth. If these teeth are missing, the sinuses may sag down into the space previously occupied by the tooth roots. A sinus lift procedure can reposition the sinuses by inserting a bone graft between the jaw and the maxillary sinuses. We may also recommend a sinus lift if there is insufficient bone mass in the upper jaw to provide a solid foundation for dental implants.
- Periodontal Bone Graft: Gum disease, also called Periodontal Disease, can weaken the bone that supports the teeth, causing them to become loose. To reduce tooth mobility and provide stable support, we can perform a periodontal bone graft around an existing tooth.
What Are the Benefits of Bone Grafting?
There are several benefits to bone grafting, including:
- Rebuild Your Jaw Structure: A bone graft can help to rebuild or repair lost or damaged bone structure, which can improve the structure and function of your jaw. Afterwards, you’ll be able to eat, speak and smile naturally.
- Provide The Necessary Support For Dental Implants: Dental implants require a certain amount of bone for us to anchor them securely. If you’ve lost bone due to periodontal disease or trauma, a bone graft can help to provide the necessary support you need for dental implants.
- Improve Tooth Stability: A bone graft can improve the strength of your teeth by providing additional support for the roots. This is especially important if you have lost teeth and are considering dental implants.
- Anti-ageing Effects: A bone graft can improve your facial appearance by restoring its natural shape and structure. This allows us to remedy a hollow, sunken face which can sometimes occur after tooth loss.
What Are the Risks of Bone Grafting?
Like any surgical procedure, bone grafting carries some risks. These risks include:
1) Infection: There is a risk of infection after any surgical procedure, including dental bone grafting.
2) Swelling and Bruising: Swelling and bruising are common after a bone graft procedure. These symptoms should resolve within a few days to a week.
3) Pain: Some patients may experience pain after a bone graft procedure. You can usually manage this discomfort with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication.
4) Nerve Damage: There is a small risk of nerve damage which can result in numbness or tingling in the treated area.
5) Graft Failure: In some cases, the graft may fail to integrate with the surrounding bone. If this happens, the procedure may need to be repeated.
Overall, bone grafting is a safe and effective way to repair or rebuild lost or damaged bone in the jaw. It’s also an excellent solution for those who cannot have dental implant surgery due to bone loss. While some risks are associated with the procedure, they are generally minor and can be effectively managed. Once your bone graft has fully healed, we can then discuss dental implants and other restorative options with you. If you’d like to learn more about bone grafts, book a free consultation today with our treatment coordinator, Rebecca. You can contact us online or by calling our friendly reception team at 0117 405 7264.