Types of Bone Grafts
Did you know that your bones are living organs? While many of us may think that our bones are inert structures inside our bodies, they’re quite alive and are fed by a network of blood and nerves. Our mouth also has bones in it, and having healthy bones is vital to having healthy teeth. Weakened bones can lead to tooth loss, which is why we here at ZenTech Dentistry do occasionally recommend bone grafts to our patients who may require extra bone tissue at a specific site.
What is Bone Grafting and Why Do I Need It?
Tooth loss is extremely common, affecting nearly 120 million Americans. Another 40 million are missing all of their teeth. While tooth loss is indeed common, it does not come without risks to your mouth and bones. The problem with losing a tooth is that the bone that it was attached to can become compromised and your body may try to reabsorb the tissue where the tooth once was. Another reason for bone loss is gum disease, which can also lead to tooth loss.
Bone grafting gives your smile a second chance. During the procedure, we may borrow tissue from another part of your body, also known as the host site. Sometimes, however, we may use donor tissue from animals or cadavers. While that may sound a little bit unnerving, it’s quite safe and even has been shown to have a better outcome for many of our patients. The bone tissue is always sanitized and sterilized, which means that there is zero risk of infection to you from the donor tissue. Regardless where we derive the bone tissue, however, it’s important to make sure that your body does accept it. We will then graft the tissue to your bone and monitor it closely to make sure your body does not reject it.
After we perform the graft, it may take several months for your body to start to regenerate bone at the site. However, once it does heal, we’ll then be able to move forward with any other recommended procedures. Bone grafts are often used before dental implant surgery. While dental implants have a 99 percent success rate, we do need to confirm that there is an adequate healthy bone for us attach the implant.
Bone graft surgery is a straightforward and easy procedure and typically only requires a tiny incision to place the graft tissue. We usually just use local anesthesia, but for our more anxious patients, we may use general anesthesia. You may notice a little bit of discomfort after the procedure, and we recommend that you take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines such as NSAIDs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Do not take aspirin, as it can cause bleeding. Do not smoke after the procedure, as it can delay healing.
If you are suffering from advanced stage gum disease, or you have lost teeth in the past, then you may be a good candidate for bone grafting. To learn more about how this procedure can benefit you, or for general information or to schedule an appointment at our office for a consultation, please give us a call today here at ZenTech Dentistry at (503) 765-9699.