Not everyone is familiar with dental bone graft surgery. Those who are, are not too keen on ‘dental’ and ‘surgery’ so close together in the same sentence.
We’re here to tell you that a bone graft is nothing to fear. Believe it or not, it is quite common—and the process itself is no challenge to any experienced oral surgeon.
We’ve decided to provide a quick overview of dental bone graft surgery, targeting a few key questions, such as:
- What exactly is a dental bone graft?
- Who needs a dental bone graft?
- What does the surgical process entail?
- And more!
We hope you find this information helpful. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at 416-928-3444.
What Is a Dental Bone Graft?
Simply put, a dental bone graft is the addition of bone-like material—or actual bone—to the jaw. Why would anyone want to add bone to a jawbone, you ask? The reason for doing so is to increase the volume of bone in the wake of bone loss.
The concept of bone loss seems a little strange, but it can happen. Bone loss might stem from a traumatic injury, or simply the loss of an adult tooth. In either case, the solution is the same. The bone graft procedure ensures you do not experience any unnecessary bone loss in the future.
How Do Bone Grafts Work?
Contrary to what most people think, bone graft material does not take the place of your pre-existing bone. A bone graft acts as a platform for the surrounding jawbone to grow upon. Over time, the newly grown bone fully replaces the bone graft, while the original graft materials are absorbed into the body.
How Long Does a Bone Graft Take to Heal?
The healing time varies from procedure to procedure. While the initial recovery period may only take two weeks, you may have to wait 3-6 months for the new bone to develop sufficiently. During the waiting and recovery period, you will be to go about your life with little discomfort or worry.
Once there is enough solid bone mass to support a new dental implant, we can begin the preparations for your new tooth implant.
Four Common Kinds of Bone Grafts
Today, there are more than just one or two types of bone grafts. These types of grafts are the autograft, allograft, synthetic graft, and the xenograft.
An autograft, also known as an autologous bone graft, is a bone taken from the patient’s own body and placed in the desired part of the jaw. When it comes to dental procedures, the autograft is typically harvested from the hard palate, chin, or jaw.
The drawback of the autograft is that an additional surgical site is required, but the process also has its benefits. There is a very low risk of infection or graft rejection since the bone is coming from the person’s body.
Rather than taking bone from a part of your body, an allograft requires bone from a donor. One of the benefits of this type of graft is that it does not require additional surgery. In the past, there have been concerns about infections, but these days donor tissue is thoroughly checked for any infections or incompatibilities prior to grafting.
Synthetic grafts consist of safe biomaterials that act as the bone tissue. These biocompatible materials are made from proteins that are found in our bodies, giving them the greatest chance to bond and grow new jawbone. With no additional surgical sites required and an incredibly low risk of infection, the synthetic graft is favored by many professionals.
A xenograft is similar to what van Meekeren’s soldier received. The graft comes from a donor. Any graft that uses bone from a species that is not human is considered a xenograft. As you might have guessed, these grafts are not all that common in today’s practices.
The preferred source for a bone graft varies from patient to patient. Some may benefit from synthetic materials, while others might be a perfect candidate for an autograft.
As we have established, an oral surgeon doesn’t perform jawbone restoration for the sake of doing so. It is done to better people and their dental health.
Who Is Bone Grafting for?
People who have lost teeth are strong candidates for a bone graft. When a tooth is lost, jawbone growth ceases. This is because jawbone growth is stimulated by the activity of chewing and biting. Without the stimulation of chewing and biting, that area of the jawbone can deteriorate.
In the very first year after a tooth is extracted, 25% of the jawbone in that area is lost. Progressive bone loss affects your mouth and overall health in a variety of ways. You’ll see a significant decrease in the gum tissue, and your choices for a tooth replacement will narrow. If you lose more and more teeth over time, your facial appearance could even be altered.
Thankfully, these issues are completely avoidable. Bone grafting surgery is a viable option for most individuals, and it is available through none other than Dr. Suzanne Caudry.
Dental Bone Graft Surgery with Dr. Caudry
Bone graft surgery doesn’t take that long, believe it or not. It begins with the careful removal of the decayed tooth and the removal of the surrounding damaged tissue (a process known as debridement). Once the area is prepared, we will proceed with shaping the biocompatible allograft (made from donor material) to fit the area.
After the material is placed in the jawbone, the healing process begins. As more time passes, the new bone forms and strengthens. Once the area has adequate bone density, we will begin planning your upcoming dental implant surgery!
Do You Want to Learn More About Bone Grafting?
If you’d like to learn more about bone grafting, Dr. Caudry’s practice, or other topics related to oral surgery and dentistry, check our blog for future updates!