How do you know if dental bone graft surgery is right for you? Dentists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons use many factors to help determine when this procedure can benefit their patients.
The Importance of a Healthy Jaw Bone
Many dental grafts are completed as a preliminary step toward dental implants to reestablish the strength and presence of the jaw bone, whether it deteriorated due to periodontal disease, injury or a lost tooth.
When a tooth is lost, the jaw has nothing left to support. The bone can erode over time, leaving a sunken socket behind. In order to secure a dental implant in place, the jaw bone must be fully formed and able to support the new tooth.
Minor to Complex Surgical Procedures
This surgery’s level of intensity can vary. A tooth might be extracted and bone granules placed in the empty socket. Over time, the jaw will replenish itself and a dental implant will preserve the area of bone.
If teeth were extracted or knocked out and years have passed, the jaw bone may have receded extensively. In this case, the surgeon will open the gum over the affected area and place shaved granules of bone from other areas of the jaw, such as the wisdom tooth area. A membrane is put in place and the gum region is stitched. The body will heal and the jaw will meld with the graft, creating a stable home for dental implants in the future.
When recession is extreme, the surgeon may use a block of bone from the jaw or other area of the body such as the tibia. This also may be supplemented with sterilized bone granules.
While this more complex procedure takes longer to heal, it is possible to put in dental implants once the recovery period is complete. The level of complexity involved will depend on the severity of bone loss that has taken place prior to the procedure.
The Recovery and Healing Process
It is vital for those recovering from dental bone graft surgery to avoid touching the incision site. Use ice to minimize swelling and relieve pain. Consume plenty of fluids as soon as possible after the procedure, but do not resume eating until the local anesthesia has worn off. Try not to chew food with the affected area of the mouth.
Take the prescribed pain medication when needed and complete any antibiotic prescription in order to prevent infection. Make sure to attend your follow-up appointment with your surgeon to remove sutures and check the healing status.
Contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to receive a personalized consultation on jaw bone loss and to find out whether dental bone graft surgery can help you.