When you lose teeth, several things begin to happen. Many of the effects of tooth loss are immediately apparent, including a decrease in the quality of your smile, difficulty eating, and difficulty speaking properly. Under the gums, tooth loss also affects the health of your jawbone. Without your teeth, the bone begins to grow weak and resorb, changing shape. When this happens, your bite is altered, which can have several other significant effects on your life. Dental implants have become a popular treatment for replacing missing teeth. Not only does this treatment restore your smile and the functions of your teeth, but they also work to maintain the integrity of your jawbone. However, they rely on your jawbone for support. If you do not have enough bone mass in your jaw to support dental implants, Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can help with bone grafting
Your Jawbone and Dental Implants
To place dental implants, your jawbone needs to have sufficient bone mass. The implant posts rely on this bone mass for stability. After dental implants are placed, the bone begins to fuse to the implant posts, turning them into stable roots that are then able to hold your teeth securely in place. If you do not have enough bone mass in your jaw, it cannot properly fuse to the posts. In some situations, it may not fuse at all. These issues can lead to loose posts or even complete implant failure. Read more about Bone Grafting for Dental Implants.
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace missing bone mass in your jaw, effectively restoring its shape and strength. As you heal from surgery, your existing bone mass fuses too, or around, the grafting material, turning it into a part of your jaw. With strength restored, it becomes possible to place dental implants to replace missing teeth. Bone grafts often use bone mass taken from your own body. The tissue is often harvested from your hip or your tibia. In some situations, donor bone tissue may be used. During your consultation, we will be able to determine the best type of bone graft to meet your needs.
What Types of Bone Grafts are Available?
There are a few different types of bone grafts that may be used.
||Autografts. An autograft uses bone material from another area of your body. While you have no risk of disease transmission, an autograft does require two surgical sites.
||Allografts. An allograft uses bone from a compatible donor. The bone is thoroughly screened before use to reduce the risk of complications. The biggest benefit of this procedure is only one surgical site is required.
||Xenogeneic grafts. A xenogeneic graft uses bone mass from another species, such as a cow. The bone is processed at high temperatures to make it safe for use. Like an allograft, a xenogeneic graft only requires one surgical site.
||Synthetic grafting materials. In some cases, synthetic materials may be used. These materials include bone morphogenic proteins or demineralized bone matrix.
How is Bone Graft Done? A bone graft is typically done under a local anesthetic, which helps to ensure that you feel no pain or discomfort during the procedure. We can also provide you with sedation to help you relax. Surgery begins with incisions in your gums, exposing the weak areas of your jaw. Next, the grafting material is placed into the jaw. We then suture your gums closed, and you go home to begin the recovery process. You will be provided with aftercare instructions to make sure that the process goes smoothly. Once you have fully healed from surgery, the process for dental implants can then begin.
With a bone graft, we can help to restore missing bone mass, making dental implants possible. For more information, and to find out if you are a candidate for a bone graft, call Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at (610) 435-6161 today.