One of the specialized procedures performed by oral surgeons is bone grafting. This is a surgery that attempt to repair jaw bone loss or offer teeth additional support. Various conditions, from untreated tooth decay to mouth cancers can lead to bone loss in the upper or lower jaw. This means that teeth no longer have a strong and firm support and may become loose and fall off.
What Does Oral Bone Grafting Involve?
The oral surgeon will replenish the empty space with a graft, which is a small piece of bone or other material (more on this below). In time, the natural jaw bone will naturally grow to incorporate the graft, resulting in a solid foundation for the patient’s teeth.
According to dental implants Parker specialists, depending on the material used, bone grafting falls into four different categories:
- Autografts – the oral surgeon will first remove a piece of bone from the patient’s own body, usually the hip or the healthy jaw
- Alllographts – when the bone is taken from a different person, usually someone who agreed to donate their organs after death
- Xenographts – in this case, the bone of an animal, such as a pig or a cow is used
- Alloplasts – when the material used for grafting is manmade (synthetic).
Recent studies have shown that, in the near future, bone grafting can be done with cells, various bone growth factors, as well as gene-modifying drugs. Once this is possible, the procedure shall be minimally invasive.
Is Bone Grafting Painful?
In most of the cases, patients experience moderate pain after the surgery, which can be managed with over the counter painkillers. In the case of autographs, the level of pain may be higher, since the oral surgeon will perform two procedures: one to remove a piece of bone, and one to insert it in the jaw.
The surgeon may recommend prescription-strength pain medication if the patient experiences severe discomfort or discloses an overall low tolerance to pain.
Who May Need Bone Grafting?
Since, at the present, this is quite a complex procedure, you may wonder what types of conditions require it. Here are some of the most frequent cases when bone grafting is recommended and necessary:
- Dental Implants
In some cases, losing a tooth is caused by the depletion of jawbone tissue around it. In these cases (and others) the dental implants Parker oral surgeon will recommend having a bone graft before inserting a dental implant.
The dental implant surgeon will need a strong and solid area to install the screw, so that the tooth replacement will stay firmly in place.
- Jaw Bone Loss
The lower jaw has a definitive role in shaping our faces. When bone loss occurs, people’s appearance is changed, appearing older and sunken in. Bone grafting can solve this issue and give the patient a firm and youthful jaw line.
- Gum Disease
Infection to the gums can lead to bone loss if left untreated for a long time. Bacteria and microbes eat away at all available tissue. This is why you should never ignore any signs of problems with your teeth and gums.
If you were involved in a car crash or were the victim of a physical assault, a piece of your jaw bone may be chipped or splintered. In these cases, bone grafting may be use as part of facial reconstructive surgery.