Tooth loss is a devastating experience. When you lose your teeth, it affects every aspect of your life. It makes once simple tasks (eating and speaking) much more difficult. It affects the beauty of your smile, and can greatly impact your confidence. Under the gums, tooth loss greatly affects your jawbone. Your teeth are responsible for keeping your jawbone strong and healthy. Every time you chew, your teeth stimulate the bone. This stimulation sends signals to the rest of your body that nutrients are needed. When you lose your teeth, the stimulation decreases. As a result, fewer nutrients are sent. The bone begins to weaken and change shape. When this happens, your remaining teeth begin to shift, throwing off your bite. Your facial change begins to change, and you start to look older. Dental implants have become one of the most popular options for tooth replacement. Implants consist of small titanium rods that are surgically inserted into your jawbone. The implants rely on osseointegration, or the fusion of the bone to the rods for stability. For successful osseointegration, you need to have sufficient bone mass. If there is too much bone mass missing from your jaw, Jon C. Packman DDS can help with bone grafting.
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that is done to restore missing bone mass in your jaw. Bone loss typically follows tooth loss due to the lack of stimulation. With this procedure, we remove bone from another area of your body (popular locations include the hip or the tibia). While using your own bone is preferable, there are some cases in which bone from a donor, or even synthetic graft materials, may be used. As you heal from surgery, your natural bone fuses to (or around) the graft material, restoring your jawbone.
Types of Bone Grafts
There are several types of bone grafts:
|Autogenous bone graft. An autogenous bone graft is one that uses your own bone. While this requires two surgical sites (the donor site from which the bone is harvested and the recipient site where the donor bone is placed), using your own bone means that there is no risk of rejection.
|Allogenic bone graft. An allogenic bone graft is one that uses bone mass from a donor (cadaver). There is a small risk of rejection, but only one surgical site is needed.
|Xenogenic bone graft. A xenogenic bone graft uses bone mass from another species. The material is processed at high temperatures, which helps to reduce the risk of rejection.
|Synthetic materials. In some cases, we may choose to use a synthetic bone graft material, such as bone morphogenic proteins or demineralized bone matrix.
Bone Grafting Procedure
A bone graft is a surgical procedure. Before undergoing a bone graft, an oral exam is done, during which x-rays are taken. X-rays help us to see the condition of your jawbone, enabling us to determine the best course of action for you. At the start of your bone graft, a local anesthetic is used, and sedation can be provided as well (which will help you to relax and remain calm). For an autogenous bone graft, incisions are made at both the donor and recipient sites. For all other grafts, incisions are only made at the recipient site. Bone mass is harvested (for an autogenous bone graft) and the graft material is packed into the weakened areas of the jaw. The gum tissue is then sutured closed and you can return home to begin healing. After you have completely healed, the process for dental implants can begin.
With a bone graft, we can restore the shape and strength of your jawbone, enabling the bone to successfully support dental implants. For more information, or to schedule your consultation, contact Jon C. Packman DDS today.