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Bone grafting is often closely associated with dental restorations such as bridge work 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 bone has receded or sustained significant damage, the implant(s) cannot be supported on this unstable foundation and bone grafting is usually recommended for the ensuing restoration.
There are several types of bone grafts. Your surgeon will determine the best type for your particular condition. The bone grafting procedure can often take several months to complete. This bone will fuse with your existing bone and the migration of cells will cause firm adhesion and cell growth. Supplementing the jaw with bone will result in greater bone mass to help support and anchor the implant(s).
There are several major factors that affect bone volume:
Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease can affect and permanently damage the bone that supports the teeth. Affected areas progressively worsen until the teeth become unstable.
Tooth Extraction – Studies have shown that patients who have experienced a 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.
Reasons for bone grafts
Bone grafting is a highly successful procedure in most cases. Bone grafting can increase the height or width of the jawbone and fill in voids and defects in the bone, which aids in restoration of a patient's teeth.
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, your surgeon 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 must be fully addressed before the bone grafting procedure can begin. Your surgeon may also recommend panoramic x-rays in order to assess the dimensions of the existing bone. On occasion, a CAT scan may be recommended.