For many years, a dental bone graft was a very uncommon procedure for patients to get done. But in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of grafts done by oral surgeons and dentists to help patients combat many serious oral health issues. It can be life-changing for many who have suffered for too long.
Since it hasn’t always been a very common procedure, many patients don’t know very much about dental bone grafting. This makes it overwhelming when a dentist brings up this treatment as an option to solve your problems.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about getting a dental bone graft so you can make an informed decision!
Reasons to Get a Bone Graft
First things first, it’s a good idea to know why bone grafts are used and what problems the treatment can solve. This will help you evaluate whether this is something you should take the time to research more or not.
The problem all bone grafts are designed to solve is a weak area in the skeletal material that is continually degrading and leading to other issues. With dental bone grafts, that weakness is obviously originating in the jaw bone. Jaw breakdown can happen for a variety of reasons like missing teeth, infection, or extensive gum disease.
A bone graft allows you to have a solid foundation for other treatment options to have more success.
Qualities of a Good Candidate
Because it can be a more involved procedure, it’s not often the first recommendation and won’t be a good fit for every patient. If you think your jaw could benefit from a graft, you’ll need to determine if you are a good fit for the procedure at all before moving forward.
There are no specific age requirements for a bone graft but the patient should be in good overall health for the best results. Often, they’ll need to provide the graft from other bones in the body so those will need to be evaluated as well.
Most dental professionals will have a general check-up before making any final decisions about treatment plans.
Procedure Prep to Do
For many patients, the thought of getting a dental bone graft can bring on a lot of anxious feelings. The better prepared you are, the less you’ll have to worry about and the more in control you’ll feel.
Before your procedure, make sure every other dental treatment you might need is taken care of. Things like fillings and crowns can disrupt your healing process, so getting them done ahead of time is very helpful. It’s also helpful to arrange for help on the day of the surgery and get all of your medications in order as well.
Typical Procedure Outline
When it’s time for your bone graft, your dental professional will make an incision on the area of the jaw that needs a graft. They will then attach the graft to the area and sew it back up. Overall, it’s a pretty straightforward procedure.
The main difference between procedures is which type of graft you choose to have placed.
Most dentists will advise using an auto-graft which comes from another bone in your body. This is often from another area of the jaw but can also come from the skull, hip, or chin as well. This will be discussed and determined well before the grafting procedure is performed. A patient can also choose a synthetic, cadaver, or animal bone as well.
Your recovery time will depend heavily on which type of graft you get. If you choose an auto-graft, that area will also have to heal along side the damaged area of your jaw.
As for the actual graft site, it will start to feel better within a week or two. But complete healing won’t happen for several months, even up to nine months. It’s important to watch for infection or disruption early on in the healing process. Those things need to be addressed quickly if they do come up.
In general, being gentle with the graft area and taking it slowly introducing foods back into your diet is the best way to have quick, perfect healing.
Life After a Dental Bone Graft
The biggest benefit of getting a bone graft for your jaw is the ability to get further dental work done in the future. Many patients have this type of jaw breakdown because they have been missing teeth for extended periods of time.
Once your bone graft is completely healed, you’ll be able to move forward with any planned implants. Then you won’t have to worry about the problem coming back in the future. Your new grafted jaw bone will acclimate with the existing bones and will be just like every other strong area of your body moving forward.
Steps to Promote Strong Bones
Jaw bone grafts aren’t something you want to have to get done several times, so it’s important to promote healthy bones after healing is completed. One of the best ways you can do that is to replace your missing teeth as quickly as possible. This prevents vulnerabilities from taking over and creating even bigger problems.
It’s also important to eat a healthy diet and avoid foods that can cause oral health issues, like too much sugar!
Everything You Need to Know About Dental Bone Graft
Knowing what to expect going into a dental bone graft can make all the difference in your experience getting it done. Instead of feeling anxious or worried about what’s to come and how your oral health is going to change, you can feel confident that your jaw problems will be solved!
It’s a good idea to have a consultation with your dental professional ahead of the procedure to make sure all of your questions are answered. This way you won’t be surprised by any step along the way.
You’ll also want to make sure you find the best team to handle the bone graft so you can expect wonderful results. Our office has the best periodontists in Sarasota who can deliver everything you’re looking for. If you’re interested in meeting with our team, contact us today!