Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?

Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

If you have lost or damaged a tooth, your dentist may recommend an implant to restore your smile and provide protection and support for your jawline and other teeth. To be sure, implants are a great investment – especially for those who otherwise have a very healthy mouth and are seeking a permanent solution for missing teeth. What many people don’t know, however, is that bone grafts are used as part of the process to secure the implant. Dentists rely on bone grafts for other reasons, too. If you are going to undergo any sort of dental procedure and your dentist is recommending a bone graft, here is why.

Why a Bone Graft?

Imagine planting a tree in the ground. It takes time for roots to grow and take hold. Certainly no one would stick a branch in the ground and expect a miracle! The same is true with bone grafts. Bone grafts are what your dentist uses to allow certain dental work – like implants – to take hold within the jawline. By taking processed bone from another part of your body or a donor (usually cadaver) and inserting it into the gumline, your dentist is planting the minerals needed to create new bone cells, ensuring that whatever dental apparatuses he is placing in your mouth – such as an implant post – can take hold naturally and securely within your mouth.

Reasons for a Bone Graft

Most people know that bone grafts are necessary to complete the process of inserting dental implants where teeth are missing or rotted away. However, dentists use bone grafts for other reasons, too. People with advanced periodontal disease often lose bone in their jaw, and teeth along with it. The disease wears the gums away, exposing the softer dentin layers and causing tooth loss. In these cases, bone grafts are used in an effort to save any remaining teeth and halt the progression of the disease.

Likewise, those who have lost teeth long ago and are just now seeking to correct this may notice their jawbone has retracted over time, limiting space for prosthetics. In such cases, dentists may perform a ridge expansion, which entails using bone graft material added to the small ridge along the top of the jawline. Bone grafts may also be used to regenerate jawbone when the jaw otherwise would be unable support implants. Over time, if the jaw is healthy, bone grafts will help the jaw to strengthen and expand, allowing for the implant procedure to begin.  

What Does a Bone Graft Entail?

A bone grafts is a relatively simple procedure your dentist will perform typically in one office visit. Bone grafts can be comprised of sourced bone material, cadaver, your own donor material or a synthetically produced material made up of calcium, hydroxylapatite, and phosphorus. After peeling away the gum to reveal the jawbone area where the bone graft will go, your dentist will insert the graft into the jaw with the hope it will take root over time.

In addition to packing the graft into the jaw, mesh-like membranes or tissue-stimueelating growth factor proteins may be placed at the site to encourage the body to regenerate new bone tissue and accept the graft. A procedure called guided tissue regeneration or GTR may also be performed, where the dentist will place a thin mesh over the bone before suturing the flap of gum back into place. This prohibits the gums from growing into the bone where the grafts are placed.

Your Implant Specialists in Eugene

There is nothing more beautiful than a smile that stems from confidence. Implants can provide anyone the natural, permanent solution they are seeking to achieve that smile. If you believe the time has come to restore your smile, call 360 Dental Group, where Dr. Ari Binder has years of experience restoring teeth to their natural splendor. If you are interested in learning more about restorative dentistry or are curious if you are candidate for implants, call Dr. Binder today at (541) 689-1645 or schedule a appointment online.