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Bone grafting is sometimes necessary for dental implants, depending on the integrity of your jawbone. Over time, the jawbone in the area where there are missing teeth begins to deteriorate and atrophy. Given enough time, it will reach a state where there isn’t enough bone of good enough quality to have dental implants placed. In those situations, patients are not candidates for implants but require bone grafting.
We have the ability to grow bone where it’s necessary. This will restore the jawbone enough to allow us to place implants that are properly sized, as well as restore complete functionality and appearance to the jaw.
Before the Bone Grafting Procedure
Before the procedure occurs, we’ll need to take images of your bone so that the dentist and the surgeons can come up with a treatment plan. We’ll decide how best to augment your bone to the point where it can support healthy implants. Images are typically taken with a CT scan. We also need to decide whether to use processed bone, or whether to harvest bone from another site.
Major Bone Grafting
Major bone grafting procedures can repair dental implant sites that don’t have enough of a bone structure, whether that’s caused by previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries that have damaged the jawbone. Bone can be taken from a tissue bank, or can be used from a different part of your body: often other parts of the jaw, hip, or tibia.
Sinus bone grafts can be performed to replace the bone in the posterior upper jaw. We may use special membranes that dissolve under the gum to protect the bone graft and help the bone to regenerate. This process is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Bone grafts are most commonly used to repair jaw defects that arise through traumatic injury, surgery, or congenital defects. If the defect is large enough, we utilize the patient’s own bone harvested from the skull, hip, or tibia to regrow the bone. These procedures are performed in an operating room, and require a hospital stay.
After the Procedure
After the bone grafting procedure is over, you’ll likely be very sore. An over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen and ice packs for fifteen minutes at a time should help the soreness. We’ll also send you home with a prescription for antibiotics to prevent the treatment site from getting infected. Using an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent infection is also recommended.
Usually a bone grafting requires a change in diet after the procedure. It’s very important to keep pressure off of the area, so be careful what you eat for several weeks afterward. Stick to softer foods. The entire healing process can take six to nine months as your body builds the new bone.
If you have questions about the bone grafting procedure and process, please contact us online or call us at 404-937-8330 to make an appointment. We’ll be glad to talk you through your options and answer any questions you might have about the process.