Many people end up losing a permanent tooth at some point in their lives. Whether your tooth loss was a result of periodontal disease or injury, dental implants are the healthiest way to restore your smile. Dental implants act like artificial roots that fuse to the jawbone. A replacement tooth or bridge (if you need to replace multiple teeth) is fixed to the top of these roots, with a look that matches your original teeth.
When bone loss is a contributing factor in tooth loss, there is not enough bone in the area to support a new artificial tooth either. Even when bone loss did not contribute to losing a tooth or teeth, if the dentition was lost some time ago, the bone that supported it has been reabsorbed by the body. That means that repairs to the jawbone become the first point of procedure. Thankfully, the Placerville Dental Group offers bone grafting to make sure the foundation for your dental implants is strong and secure.
Jawbone Graft Source Materials
Bone grafting involves removing bone from one area of the body and transplanting it into the jawbone, thereby replacing the missing bone. The bone is often removed from healthy bone in other strong locations of the body, such as the roof of the mouth, which requires surgical removal. Depending on the patient and the procedure, alternative sources are bone harvested from cadavers (think of it like an organ transplant) or farm animals (cows, pigs, horses). Artificial biocompatible materials can also be used if grafting tissue from yourself or other once living things makes you queasy. All of these bone sources are well-tested for effectiveness and safety. Complications with bone grafting are very rare. Even so, it’s important to discuss your health and any medical conditions you might have with your dentist to eliminate the possibility of side effects.
Types of Jawbone Grafting
Depending on what teeth need to be replaced and the severity of your issue, your Placerville family dentist chooses from the different kinds of bone grafting techniques. Here are some of the most common.
Socket graft – the bone graft is placed directly into the empty socket, preventing collapse. This is common immediately after an extraction to promote faster healing. It also is done with sockets that did not heal properly. After a usual 4 to 6 months of bone formation, your jaw is ready for dental implants.
Lateral ridge preservation graft – your dentist places the graft along the outside or inside of the jawbone to increase its width, allowing enough area to support a dental implant.
Block bone graft – if there are deep defects in the jawbone (imagine a “valley” between two healthy ridges of jawbone), your jaw needs blocks of support instead of thin strips. The block is used to fill or repair the defect, and is often held in place with small titanium screws while the jaw heals over the next 4 to 6 months.
Sinus lift graft – your dentist in Placerville uses this procedure in the upper jaw when there is not enough bone to prevent the implant from penetrating into the sinus cavity. The patient’s bone, a portion of equine bone, or a mixture of both creates a “scaffold” that supports additional bone growth before the sinus.
After Jawbone Grafting
Bone grafting procedures are completed on a single day, but you might need a ride home due to lingering sedation effects. With the help of antibiotics, pain medication as needed, and regular checkups to your Placerville dental clinic, the new bone fuses to the old bone within 4 to 6 months. Of course, every mouth is different, so it’s important to have your Placerville family dentist monitor the healing process. When your mouth is ready, your dentist schedules installation of your dental implants.
You likely have further questions about the bone grafting procedure or dental implants. Our knowledgeable team at the Placerville Dental Group is happy to answer all your questions. Please visit our online form to ask questions or schedule an appointment. You can also give our office a call to set up a consultation with our dental staff. If jawbone grafting is a procedure in your future, you’ll be happy to have the Placerville Dental Group leading the way.