Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is often closely associated with dental implant placement in an extracted site and subsequent restorations with an implant supported crown or bridge. In the majority of cases, the success of a restoration procedure can hinge on the height, depth, and width of the jawbone at the implant site. When the jawbone has receded or sustained significant damage, the implant(s) cannot be supported on this unstable foundation. Thus bone grafting is usually recommended to rebuild the socket in preparation for an implant placement.

There are several major factors that affect jaw bone volume:

  • Periodontal Disease -Periodontal disease can affect and permanently damage the jaw bone that supports the teeth. Affected areas progressively worsen until the teeth become unstable.
  • Tooth ExtractionStudies have shown that patients who have experienced a tooth extraction subsequently lose 40-60% of the bone surrounding the extraction site during the first 6 months. Loss of bone results in what is called a “bone defect”.
  • Injuries and InfectionsDental injuries and other physical injuries resulting from a blow to the jaw can cause the bone to recede. Infections can also cause the jaw bone to recede in a similar way.

Reasons for bone grafts

Bone grafting is a highly successful procedure in most cases. It is also a preferable alternative to having missing teeth, diseased teeth, or tooth deformities. Bone grafting can increase the height or width of the jawbone and fill in voids and defects in the bone.

There are essentially two basic ways in which bone grafting can positively impact the health and stability of the teeth:

Jaw Stabilization – Bone grafting stabilizes and helps restore the jaw foundation for restorative and implant surgery. Deformities can also be corrected and the restructuring of the bone can provide added support.

Preservation - Bone grafting can be used to limit or prevent bone recession following a tooth extraction, periodontal disease, or other invasive processes.

Oral Examination

Initially, Dr. Leung will thoroughly examine the affected area in order to assess the general condition of the teeth and gums. If periodontal disease is present or the adjacent teeth are in poor condition, these factors will be fully addressed before the bone grafting procedure can begin. Dr. Leung will also recommend different types of x-rays in order to assess the precise depth, width, and heigh of the existing bone. On occasion, a CT scan may be recommended to determine the bone condition as well as the location of anatomical structures that may affect implant placement. Depending on these results, Dr. Leung may also anesthetize the area and explore into the gum in order to determine what kind and how much bone is required.

What Does Bone Grafting Involve?

There are several types of bone grafts. We will determine the best type for your particular condition.

Autogenous Bone GraftHarvested from the patient’s own body (usually from the posterior part of the lower jaw or the chin). This method is usually preferred because it produces the most predictable results.

Allograft Bone Graft – Cadaver bone is used in this type of graft.

Alloplast Bone Graft- Synthetic bone that mimics the content of bone.

Xenograft - Bovine bone is used in this type of graft.

The bone grafts can often take 4-6 months for it to convert to hard bone . Different types and choices of bone grafts are added to the affected site. This bone graft serves as a matrix for the existing bone cells to attach and produce cellular bone growth. Supplementing the jaw with bone will result in greater bone mass to help support and anchor the implant(s).

During the surgery, the dentist will numb the grafting and extraction sites using local anesthetic. A small incision will be made to prepare the site for the graft placement. On occasion, a synthetic membrane may be used to cover the bone graft. This membrane prevents soft tissue and bacterial invasions, and encourages new bone growth. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be provided with comprehensive instructions for your post-operative care. We will prescribe medications to help manage infection, discomfort and swelling.

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