Bone grafting is often closely associated with dental restorations such as bridgework and dental implants. In the majority of cases, the success of a restoration procedure can hinge on the height, depth, and width of the jawbone at the implant site. When the jawbone has receded or sustained significant damage, the implant(s) cannot be supported on the unstable foundation and bone grafting is usually recommended for the ensuring restoration.
There are several major factors that affect jaw bone volume:
- Periodontal Disease – periodontal disease can affect and permanently damage the jaw bone that supports the teeth. Affected areas progressively worsen until the teeth become unstable.
- Tooth Extraction – studies have shown that patients who have undergone tooth extraction subsequently lose 40%-60% of the bone surrounding the extraction site during the following three years. Loss of bone results in what is called a “bone defect.”
- Injuries and Infections – dental injuries and other physical injuries resulting from a blow to the jaw can cause the bone to recede. Infections can also cause the jaw bone to recede in a similar way.
Why use a bone graft?
Bone grafting is a highly successful procedure in most cases. It is also a preferable alternative to having missing teeth, diseased teeth, or tooth deformities. Bone grafting can increase the height or width of the jaw bone and fill in voids and defects in the bone.
There are essentially two basic ways in which bone grafting can positively impact the health and stability of the teeth:
- Jaw Stabilization – bone grafting stabilizes and helps restore the jaw foundation for restorative or implant surgery. Deformities can also be corrected and the restructuring of the bone can provide added support.
- Preservation – Bone grafting can be used to limit or prevent bone recession following a tooth extraction, periodontal disease, or other invasive processes.
Initially, Dr. Allen and Dr. Mraule will thoroughly examine the affected area in order to assess the general condition of the teeth and gums. If periodontal disease is present or the adjacent teeth are in poor condition, these factors will be fully addressed before the bone grafting procedure can begin. A panoramic X-ray or CAT scan will be necessary in order to assess the precise depth and width of the existing bone.