Understanding the Basics of Bone Grafts
At Portland Periodontics, Dr. Goldwyn performs treatments like dental bone grafting in Portland that most general dentists do not. Since the majority of our patients come referred to us from their general dentist, many don’t know too much about the types of treatments they will receive.
While most people have received a dental cleaning or have had a cavity filled, the type of dental care Dr. Goldwyn provides isn’t about keeping a patient’s teeth healthy, but rather returning them back to health.
Let’s take a closer look at what dental bone grafting in Portland involves and what patients can expect from undergoing this important procedure.
Dental Bone Graft – Restoring the Foundation of Your Oral Health
A dental bone graft is a procedure Dr. Goldwyn performs to help increase bone density in an area of the jaw where the exiting bone structure has deteriorated or become weak.
To perform this procedure, bone may be taken from another part of a patient’s body and then surgically fused to the area of the jaw in need of strengthening. Occasionally, in patients with poor bone density, a synthetic bone material is used instead.
In the majority of cases, a patient will require a bone graft when the existing structure of their jawbone becomes severely damaged or impaired. Typically, this occurs as the result of periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease.
Periodontitis allows harmful oral bacteria to slowly degrade the existing bone structures and soft tissues that hold your teeth into position. Given time, periodontitis will damage the foundation of your oral health to the point where permanent tooth loss becomes unavoidable. The disease can even progress to the point where your jaw becomes misaligned, leading to problems eating and possibly even speaking.
What Happens During a Bone Graft?
Dr. Goldwyn has several different options when it comes to performing a dental bone graft in Portland, but the foundation of the procedure always remains the same. Dr. Goldwyn begins the procedure by making an incision in the jaw before then grafting, or attaching, the transplant bone material to the needed area.
The most common method for conducting a bone graft is to use bone from a patient’s tibia or hip in a procedure known as an autograft. Autografts are considered the ideal option since they increase bone support in the jaw while also promoting quicker healing and the formation of new bone.
Depending on a patient’s health, the bone used in a graft may come from an outside source such as a donor (allografts), an animal (xenografts), or from a synthetic material (alloplasts).
The procedure can take anywhere from one to two hours to complete, and generally requires at least two weeks for patients to initially recover. When the graft successfully takes, new bone generation typically occurs in three to six months.
What Types of Problems Are Bone Grafts Used to Treat?
A patient may require a dental bone graft for a variety of reasons, the most common include:
Needing Dental Implants
Patients who require the placement of a dental implant to replace one or more missing teeth rank as the most common candidate for dental bone grafts.
An artificial root, implants works to replace the foundation of teeth that have become badly damaged or decayed. In cases of permanent tooth loss, an implant can provide the foundation for the placement of a crown, a tooth-like structure that looks, functions, and feels like a natural tooth.
Bone grafting works to strengthen the area surrounding the implant to provide a stable enough foundation for the implant to hold.
Tooth Loss & Gum Disease
Bone grafts can also be used to help repair areas of the jaw that have become badly damaged as a result of dental decay or diseases.
Since bone loss can impact the health of neighboring teeth and gum tissue, the procedure can stabilize the deterioration of the jaw bone to prevent any further damage from occurring. This can help patients avoid the long-term issues like tooth loss that can permanently damage the health of their smile.
Other candidates for a bone graft include patients whose appearance has been impacted by bone loss. The loss of bone mass in the face can cause a patient to look gaunt or sickly.
Loss of lower bone mass can cause the jaw to protrude forward. Without a strong foundation, the lips and muscles around the jawbone can change in their appearance, causing the face to look wrinkled and withered.
Bone loss is more common among older patients who’ve developed osteoporosis.