Why a bone graft is important, 3D diagram of a dental implant

Losing teeth due to periodontitis or any other condition can be a stressful experience. The damage is often irreversible as a result of bad oral health decisions. Even if you change your habits later in life, the damage could already be done. In fact, around 69% of people aged between 35 and 45 have at least one tooth missing. Additionally, 26% of people above the age of 75 don’t have teeth at all.

Fortunately, there are procedures to help us recover our smile and restore healthy tooth function. There’s been an increased demand for dental implants as a way to replace missing teeth. Much like natural teeth, implants are anchored deep into the jawbone for maximum support. However, you need to have enough bone in your jaw to hold the implant securely. For many people that have lost teeth, the bone will likely have deteriorated. This is a process that starts extremely quickly, reabsorbing the surrounding bone and getting worse the longer a tooth is absent.

Thankfully, bone grafting allows you to get a replacement tooth even if there’s a lack of support for a dental implant in your jaw. If you have been told that you need bone grafting to receive a dental implant, schedule an appointment with Dr. Newhart. He sees patients in Parkersburg, WV, and surrounding areas including Marietta, OH.

What Is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure that aims to repair or rebuild bones by transplanting healthy bone tissue to areas where it is missing. In some cases, the healthy bone comes from another part of your body such as your hip. This is a major bone graft and requires a general anesthetic to put you to sleep. You’ll also need to stay at a hospital for a short time to recover.

However, most modern bone grafts use grafting material that your body eventually absorbs and replaces with natural bone. This material comes from many different sources, including animal bones or human donor bones processed in a laboratory to make them sterile and fit for surgical use. Grafting material can also be synthetic and may come in powder, granule, putty, or even gel form. These refer to different types of bone grafting material:

  • Autograft: Bone taken from one area of your body and moved to another. This requires two surgical sites and results in a longer recovery time.
  • Allograft: Refers to human bone processed in a laboratory. This usually comes from a deceased donor at a tissue bank.
  • Xenograft: Bone grafting material that comes from an animal such as a cow and processed in a laboratory before use.
  • Alloplast: Made from synthetic materials.

The type of bone grafting material used depends on the circumstance and what the specialist, such as Dr. Richard Newhart, suggests. Bone grafting can be rather daunting to understand. If you’re in need of this procedure, Dr. Newhart is located in Parkersburg, WV, but also accepts patients who live in Marietta, OH, and surrounding areas.

Do I Need Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a procedure that prepares a patient for dental implants. Periodontist, Dr. Newhart, will examine your mouth and jaw to see if you have sufficient healthy natural bone to support an implant. If not, then Dr. Newhart may recommend a bone grafting procedure to help regenerate bone in your jaw before receiving a dental implant.

If you suffer from gum disease, a facial injury, or have had a missing tooth for a while, you likely may need a bone graft. Our team will examine your mouth to determine if a bone grafting procedure is safe and necessary before a dental implant.

What to Expect During Surgery

Bone grafting is usually a minor procedure that can take place in a periodontist’s office. Minor bone grafts only require a small incision and therefore only need local anesthesia. However, a major bone graft will require you to be put to sleep and requires a hospital stay.

As mentioned already, major bone grafts take bone from another area of your body such as your hip. The bone is carefully removed in blocks. Because the bone is from your body it does not need processing. If you’re using an allograft, xenograft, or alloplastic, then only a single surgical procedure is required.

For the procedure, a small incision is made in your gum to expose the bone. The grafting material is added, serving as a scaffold for your body to naturally deposit new bone cells. This allows for the rebuilding and regenerating of the bone to serve as an anchor for future dental implants. The bone graft eventually heals and strengthens with new bone.

What to Expect After Surgery

You may experience slight soreness in the affected area after a minor bone graft. This can be managed with anti-inflammatory medication or pain relievers. This discomfort eventually subsides and shouldn’t need much attention.

It may also take up to seven months for your bone to fully regenerate to a point that your jaw is ready to accept a dental implant.

How Bone Graft and Dental Implants Can Improve Your Life

Bone grafts are essential for preparing your jaw for a dental implant. This can help restore your smile and have a healthier set of teeth. It also gives back your ability to chew without experiencing pain. Dental implants are a fantastic alternative to dentures or bridges, especially if there are no suitable teeth or gums to support them. They are also more sturdy and designed to last over 25 years or even a lifetime with regular maintenance.

If you’d like to learn more about dental implants and bone grafting, schedule an appointment with us today. We are located in Parkersburg, WV, but accept patients from Marietta, OH, and surrounding areas. This video will also help explain more about different types of bone grafting.

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