What You Should Know About Dental Bone Grafting

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Dental bone grafting adds bone tissue to your jaw by relocating bone matter from elsewhere in your body. It sounds upon first hearing like a rather extreme and invasive procedure, but it’s been around for decades and is actually a relatively minor procedure. The goal of this article is to try and answer some of the common questions about bone grafting.

When are bone grafts needed?

A dentist in Scarborough may recommend that you undergo bone grafting for several reasons relating to tooth loss and gum disease. The loss of one or more teeth means you also lose the roots of those teeth that stimulate the growth of healthy root bone tissue. Over time, living without those roots will cause your bone to lose mass and density.

That loss of bone mass and density may eliminate the support on which your facial structure relies, cause the loosening and loss of further teeth, and mean you can not hold dental implants. The same loss of bone mass and density can be a consequence of serious periodontitis. Bone grafting can help return support to your facial structure, to prevent the loss of additional teeth and in anticipation of receiving dental implants.

The different types of dental implants

The best type of bone grafting procedure for you depends on several factors, especially your medical history, current medical condition and the root causes of the bone mass and density issues being addressed.  Bone grafts are performed with several different types of materials and using several different techniques.

Bone grafts using your own bone from elsewhere in your mouth or body are called autogenous bone grafts or autografts. Bone can also be harvested from a cadaver to be grafted to your jaw via an allograft. Xenogenic bone grafts use bone from animals that has been treated to avoid the risk of rejection or infection. Dentists also have access to synthetic materials to produce bone-like substances to be grafted to your jaw.

There are three common types of bone graft procedures. Block bone grafts relocate bone from the very back of your jaw bone (near your wisdom teeth) to treat significant bone loss. Socket grafts are performed simultaneously with a tooth extraction. Bone harvested from elsewhere is placed in the socket left void by the extracted tooth.

Sinus lifts are a form of bone grafting near you to address the loss of molars in your upper jaw. When you lose molars in your upper jaw, the sinuses in your face have a tendency to sink lower and fill the gaps left behind by your missing molars. Sinus lifts return your sinus to their proper position and fill the gaps left behind by your missing molars with grafted bone material.

Who is a good candidate for bone grafting?

  • Patients with good bone density around the tooth to be replaced with an implant, but who need additional bone mass.
  • Patients who suffer from autoimmune disorders that affect the body’s ability to heal — diabetes is a common example — may not be good candidates for bone grafting. Having said that, bone grafting may be possible following a consultation between your dentist in Scarborough and a physician familiar with your medical condition.
  • Patients with healthy gums are good candidates for bone grafting. If you have periodontal disease, that gum disease may have to be treated before any bone grafting can be performed due to the risk of further and worsened infection

Nervousness about seemingly complex dental procedures is normal. Don’t hesitate to ask any and all questions that you have if your dentist has recommended that you undergo bone grafting. The answers may help you realize how straightforward and common bone grafting procedures are, and how they can help restore your dental health and appearance.