Your jawbone is an important feature of your mouth. It aids in biting, chewing and speech. It also helps to maintain the shape and aesthetics of your face. The bone is also crucial in helping to hold your teeth securely in place. Losing bone in your jaw can have a significant impact on your oral health and the functions of your mouth. It can affect the stability of your teeth, their alignment, and more. At Pacific Modern Dentistry, we can help to restore missing bone mass, and strength to your jaw, with bone regeneration.
Causes of Bone Loss in Your Jaw
Bone loss can happen for different reasons. You can lose bone mass around the roots of your teeth as a result of gum disease. The missing portion of bone is often called a bony defect. Bony defects occur when bacteria make their way under your gums, where they begin attacking your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. Bone loss can also occur as a result of facial trauma or a tooth extraction, where some of the bone may be removed with the tooth.
Another cause of bone loss in the jaw is suffering tooth loss. The teeth provide stimulation for your jawbone, helping to keep it strong and healthy. However, when you lose teeth, stimulation is lost. Fewer nutrients are sent to your jaw as a result, which leads to the eventual loss of bone mass.
Restoring Bone Mass with Bone Grafting
A bone graft is a common procedure for restoring lost bone mass. It is a surgical procedure that involves taking bone mass from another area of your body or a compatible donor and placing it in the weakened areas of your jaw. After the graft material has been placed, your existing bone mass begins to fuse with or around the material, which helps to restore strength to your jaw.
There are a few different types of bone grafts that may be performed to replace missing bone mass in your jaw. These include:
||An autograft. This bone graft involves the use of your own bone mass. The graft material is generally harvested from your hip or tibia. The bone mass we harvest is considered living, and it can fuse with your existing bone mass as you heal.
||An allograft. An allograft uses bone mass from a compatible donor. The bone is not living and only fills the empty space in your jaw. The biggest advantage of this type of graft, however, is that it only requires a single surgical site.
||A xenogenic bone graft. This type of bone graft uses bone material from another species, typically a cow. The bone is processed at high temperatures to render it safe to use. Again, while not living, it only requires the use of one surgical site.
Guided Bone Regeneration
In some cases, guided bone regeneration, or GBR, may be used. This procedure involves the use of a special membrane that is placed over the bone graft site after the placement of the graft and before your gums are sutured closed. The membrane works to keep your soft tissues separated from your slower regenerating bone, preventing the soft tissue from filling in places where the bone should be. While keeping soft and, hard tissues separate, GBR also works to help stimulate the growth of new bone tissue.
Replacing missing bone mass in your jaw restores the strength of your jaw, as well as its shape, improving the functions of your mouth and your oral health. Regenerating missing bone mass can also increase the success rate of dental implants. Call Pacific Modern Dentistry today at (206)284-4505 for more information and to schedule your consultation.