What is a dental bone graft?
The purpose of a dental bone graft is to help add additional volume to your jaw in the case of bone loss. The material for a bone graft can be synthetic but it usually isn’t. It is usually taken from animal tissue, another human, or your own body.
Bone grafts are widely utilized in dentistry. General dentists or specialists, such as periodontists or oral surgeons use them for a variety of procedures. There are different types of bone grafts. They include:
- Socket (or ridge) preservation
- Ridge augmentation
- Sinus lift
- Periodontal bone graft
Dental implants and other restorative procedures are possible because of dental bone grafts. Dental treatment might help you restore your oral health, function, and quality of life if you believe you have jawbone deterioration.
How does a bone graft work?
Think of a dental bone graft as scaffolding that your bone tissue can use to regenerate and grow onto. Pretty simply, once a bone graft is placed, your body does the rest. Sometimes, your dentist may use platelet rich plasma, also known as PRP, in combination with the dental bone graft. The PRP helps to promote tissue regeneration and faster healing.
How do I know if I need a dental bone graft?
Bone loss is common in the jawbone when you lose a tooth, especially if it’s been missing for a while. People who might need this procedure include:
- Those who need a tooth extraction
- Individuals who are having a dental implant placed
- People who need to rebuild their jaw in preparation for dentures
- Patients with bone loss from gum disease
The dentist will perform an examination of your teeth, gums, and jaw with the help of x-rays or other scans. This will help him determine the condition of your jawbone. He will discuss your treatment options and give you a treatment plan that is individualized for you.
What happens during the procedure?
Your dentist will use local anesthetic to numb the area he is working in. A small incision is created in your gums where the graft will be placed. Your dentist will clean and disinfect the area before adding the bone grafting material. The area of the incision will then be stitched up and closed.
In the aftermath of the bone graft, you may experience pain and swelling. These side effects are normal and usually go away within a few days. Over the counter pain medicine is usually sufficient. However, your dentist may decide to write you a prescription for pain killers or even antibiotics.
Some patients have reported what appears to be grains of sand coming from the surgery site in the ensuing days. They are just small bone fragments. It is nothing to be concerned about in general, but if you have any questions or concerns you should reach out to your dentist.
How much pain should I expect?
A dental bone graft surgery is not typically very painful. Most patients report minor discomfort or pain. Sedation is not necessary in most bone grafting surgeries. However, more complicated or serious cases may. Also, those with a lot of dental anxiety may require it.
You will probably not need to miss much time off of school or work, if at all. Most people feel normal within a few weeks after the procedure. However, bone grows at a very slow rate. Therefore, it can take months for the bone graft to take full effect.
Your dentist will let you know when the bone grafting has achieved the desired result.
What are some of the risks of a bone graft?
Dental bone grafts have very high success rates. However, no surgery is guaranteed to work every time. There are some factors that simply cannot be controlled for. Some of the risks include:
- Nerve damage
Additionally, there are always a risk of various complications from anesthesia. If you experience any of these issues, you should contact your dentist. Other symptoms to be on the lookout for include increased swelling, pus, fever, and severe pain.