The jaw bone provides maximum support for dental implants and its attached replacement teeth. These implants serve just as well as natural teeth and last a very long time because of its firm anchorage in the jawbone.
Having enough tooth-supporting bone in your jaw is very important. It helps the bone to support the implants securely. When a tooth is lost, the neighboring bone begins to deteriorate almost immediately.
The longer the void left between the lost tooth, the more the surrounding bone decreases in width, height, and density. Bone grafting provides a solution to those who want to have dental implants but do not have enough bone to support the implants.
How Dental Bone Grafting Works
Bone grafting involves the building up of new bones in the area of the jaw that holds the teeth. The procedure involves minor surgery that can take place in the dental office. During the process, a small incision is made on the gum to expose the bone underneath; afterward, grafting materials are added.
Most times, grafting materials are gotten from processed bone and serves as a structure for the deposition of new bone cells. The body eventually absorbs the grafting materials while the newly deposited bone cells replace it.
Grafting materials come from different sources. Your body, bone of an animal, or a human donor, which would be processed in the laboratory to make it sterile and safe. We can also obtain it synthetically through different forms; powder, granules, putty, or gel.
In these forms, the dentist can apply it through a syringe.
Types of Bone Grafts
Bone grafting materials are obtained from different sources. Processing occurs in a way that ensures it is safe for recipient use.
- Autograft: For an autograft, we obtain the grafting material from the body. It involves taking a bone from one part of the body and transferred to another region. The procedure consists of the creation of 2 surgical sites. The first is where the bone extraction takes place, and the other, the point of utilization.
- Allograft: For an allograft, the bone used for the grafting comes from a dead human donor. It is processed in the laboratory and stored in a tissue bank.
- Xenograft: The bone material needed for xenograft is gotten from animals, usually a cow.
- Alloplast: Materials for alloplast are derived from human-made materials.
What to Expect When Getting a Bone Graft
During bone graft surgery, local anesthesia is mostly required but oral, or IV sedatives could also be used to reach a higher relaxation state. During the operation, to access the bone that would receive the graft, a small incision would be made in your gum tissue. It would lead to soreness in that area after surgery, but with the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, analgesics, and ice therapy, the pain will alleviate over time.
Although you return to your normal state after surgery, it could take the body up to 7 months for the bone to mature enough to have an implant. This period allows the body enough time to heal and develop so that it will efficiently support your dental implant and replacement teeth.