Bone Grafting

The success of dental restorations such as implants or bridge works will depend on the depth, height and width of the jawbone. The first thing that is checked when considering dental implants for instance is whether there is enough bone to support the implant. Bone grafting is usually recommended for dental restorations where the jawbone has sustained considerable damage or has receded, since implants cannot be supported on such insufficient and unstable foundation.

Jawbone volume is affected by a few major factors which include:

When bone grafts are recommended

Because the success rate of bone graft procedures is remarkable, it has become the perfect alternative to living with impaired, defective, diseased or missing teeth. Defects, voids and deformities in the jawbone can also be corrected as bone grafts can increase the height or width of the jawbone.

Bone grafting can considerably improve the health and stability of the jawbone, gums and teeth in two ways:

  1. Jawbone preservation – Bone recession resulting from periodontal disease, tooth extraction or any other invasive procedure can be minimized or prevented with bone grafts
  2. Jawbone stabilization – A strong and stable jawbone foundation is essential to successful restorative or implant surgery. Bone grafts will help to provide this. Furthermore, bone grafting can correct deformities by restructuring the bone for added support.

Oral examination prior to bone grafting

Before bone grafts can be done, the affected area must be thoroughly examined to assess teeth and gum condition. If adjacent teeth are in poor condition or if there are signs of periodontal disease, those issues will first be addressed before the bone grafting is carried out.

Panoramic x-rays will be undertaken to get an accurate measurement of the depth and width of existing bone. In some cases, a CAT scan will be necessary to also evaluate the general condition of the jaw bone. Depending on the results of these diagnostic procedures, there could be further need to explore into the gum to establish how much and what kind of bone is needed for the grafts.

How bone grafting is done
Bone grafts come in various forms and your dentist will recommend which type suits your particular condition best.

It often takes several months to complete the entire bone grafting procedure. In most cases, bone tissue for the graft will be harvested from your own body. In rare instances, bone might be obtained from a bone bank.

Both the grafting and extraction sites will be numbed with local anesthetic during the surgical procedure which won’t require an overnight stay. A small incision is made and grafted bone is anchored into place. Sometimes, the new bone may be covered with a synthetic membrane to prevent bacterial and soft tissue invasions and at the same time, to encourage new bone growth. Post-operative care instructions will be given and the dentist will prescribe some medications to prevent infection and help manage swelling and discomfort.

Grafted bone will eventually fuse with existing bone and a migration of cells will pave the way for new cell growth. This will result to improved bone mass in the jaw that will help support and anchor dental implants or other forms of dental restorations.