What is Bone Grafting?

Team Oral Surgery

The surgical procedure performed by a dentist that enhances or replaces bone around the teeth is called bone grafting. The material that is used to increase the density and volume of bone in your jaw may come from your own body, a tissue bank, or synthetic material may be used. When your bone, from your hip, tibia, or the back of your jaw is used, the procedure is referred to as an autograft. When the material comes from another person or a cadaver, the procedure is known as an allograft. When synthetic material is used to reverse bone loss in the jaw, it is known as an alloplast. Read on to learn what you need to know about bone grafting.

Why Would I Need Bone Grafting in my Jaw? 

Bone grafting may be necessary if you intend to replace missing teeth with dental implants. To support the biocompatible screws that act as tooth roots and hold the artificial tooth in place, your jaw bone must be strong enough to support the implant or other prostheses. 

Individuals who have lived with missing teeth begin to lose jaw bone and continue to lose jaw bone over time. This is because the jaw begins to recede when it is not needed to support a tooth root. Severe disease in the gums (periodontitis) causes jaw bone loss, making a bone graft necessary.

In addition, adults who suffer from osteoarthritis, which thins the bones may also benefit from bone grafting in the jaw. Thinning bones can alter the structure of your face, making it appear shorter or sunken. A bone graft can help restore the appearance of your face.

Finally, people who have suffered an injury to the jaw may also be candidates for dental bone grafts.  

Bone Graft Procedure

The procedure for grafting (attaching) material to your existing bone will require sedation. If the bone that will be grafted will be harvested from your own body, you will undergo two surgical procedures. The first procedure will get the material from your hip, tibia, or back of your jaw. The second procedure will require an incision to separate the gum from the jaw. The harvested material will then be placed in the jaw, where growth is needed. Then the surgical site will be sutured.

The most commonly reported side effect of a bone grafting procedure is minor discomfort and swelling. You’ll be advised to ice your jaw, avoid hard, chewy, spicy, extremely hot, or cold foods, and manage any pain with over-the-counter or prescription medication.  

Any residual discomfort should go away within a couple of weeks. However, you may need several months between bone grafting and dental implants to allow the surgical site to completely heal. Your dentist will provide you with a specific timeline for the next steps in your process.

Learn More About Bone Grafting in Woodbury, NY

Barkoff Dental in Woodbury, NY provides bone grafting and complete restorative dentistry services including dental implants. To learn more about improving your smile, contact us at 516-921-1133, or request an appointment online.