Missing teeth over a period of time can cause your jaw bone to atrophy, or resorb. This often results in poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants as well as long term shifting of remaining teeth and changes to facial structure. Most patients, in these situations, are not candidates for dental implants.
Fortunately, today we have the ability to grow bone where it is needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, but it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
What is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone used in our office procedures is a high quality cadaver bone obtained, processed, and sterilized in accordance with the highest standards set forth by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB®) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. In addition, special collagen membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum to protect the bone graft, as well as encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration, or guided tissue regeneration.
Following your bone graft, make sure you don’t drink from a straw for the next two weeks. The suction can cause the bone particles to come out of the tooth socket, reducing the amount of bone in the area.
The first 3-4 days, stick to foods that are room temperature or colder. The collagen material we place on top of the socket that holds the bone graft in place will dissolve naturally as it heals with your tissue. Hot liquids such as hot coffee, teas, or soups can cause the collagen material to dissolve more quickly, and it’s important that the material stays in place as long as possible to protect your bone grafting site.
Why Should You Bone Graft?
Following an extraction, you tend to lose bone gradually over time. To prevent the loss of bone or preserve the extraction site for future implant placement, a bone graft is recommended.
Many patients also request bone graft(s) after wisdom teeth extractions. This speeds up the healing process and diminishes the risk of dry socket and infections due to the socket preservation.