Bone grafting consists of building up the jawbone structure to support other dental devices such as dental implants or for aesthetic reasons. At Pacific Modern Dentistry, we have the tools and experience to make the bone grafting procedure a smooth one for our patients.
When is Bone Grafting Needed?
After a tooth has been extracted the hole that contained the root of that tooth recovers by growing new bone. However, in some cases, this doesn't happen because the bone breaks or is damaged and it needs help to heal. Otherwise it will resorb. This will give you that sagging look around your mouth that makes you look older, and more importantly, the bone will start wearing away. We need to fill the hole left behind with new material to prevent further deterioration of the socket and adjacent teeth. Having a missing tooth can cause a domino effect in your mouth, and we want to avoid this at all costs.
If you are getting dentures or dental implants for a missing tooth, you need sufficient bone structure to hold that implant in place. If you get dentures, they will only cover the area, and the problems we already mentioned will continue to get worse.
Bone grafting allows us to improve the height and width of the empty socket. It also promotes bone growth and prevents further resorption.
Types of Bone Grafting
Ideally, we can preserve the bone after extraction and immediately fill the socket with bone grafting material. The type of material used will depend on the size of the empty socket and other considerations which we will discuss with you before the surgery. However, for this process, we will use human bone granules which look like sea salt and will be placed in the cavity to fill the socket after the extraction. We will cover the bone graft with a protective layer and then stitch the incision.
After the surgery, your body will regenerate more bone that will fuse with the existing bone to fill the empty socket. This will preserve the height and width of the cavity. A dental implant will be the most suitable replacement because it allows the bone to remain there permanently. If you choose a bridge, there could be further bone loss.
The same process is used for an empty socket that resulted from an extraction that happened many years ago. We try to use bone from your jaw as much as possible.
When the jawbone has worn over an extended period due to several missing teeth, it can become very thin, and if you wear dentures, they will not fit properly causing you problems eating and speaking. Remember that the jaw, along with your gums, is what holds your teeth in place.
Bone grafting is more complicated when several teeth are missing compared to when only one tooth is lost. In many instances, other devices are necessary. If the upper jaw is in jeopardy because of missing teeth, we also must consider the possibility of a sinus lift, so your gums can accept a dental implant.
Let us know if you have any questions about bone grafting by calling Pacific Modern Dentistry at (206) 607-9822.