When you lose teeth, several issues arise. Many of these issues are noticeable right away. Missing teeth affect your smile, your confidence, and your abilities to eat and speak. Underneath the gums, tooth loss affects the health of your jawbone. Your jaw gradually loses bone mass, growing weak and changing shape over time. Dental implants are a modern treatment for replacing missing teeth that use small titanium posts to support your dental restorations. While implants are a very successful treatment, they do rely significantly on the condition of your jawbone. Without enough bone mass in your jaw, treatment may fail. If you do not have enough bone mass in your jaw, Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center can help to increase the success of implants with bone grafting.
Dental Implants and Your Jawbone
Your teeth play an integral role in the health of your jawbone. Every time you chew, the roots of your teeth stimulate the bone. This tells the body that essential nutrients are needed. When you lose teeth, your jaw loses stimulation. As a result, fewer nutrients are sent. Over time, the bone loses mass, growing weak.
While dental implants can stop the bone loss in your jaw by restoring stimulation to the bone, you first need to have enough bone mass in the jaw to support the posts. After the posts have been placed, your bone fuses to the posts, stabilizing them in your jaw. Without enough mass, your jawbone cannot properly fuse to the posts. Placing posts in weak bone can result in unstable restorations or even complete implant failure.
What is Bone Grafting?
A bone graft is a surgical procedure that involves taking bone tissue from one area of your body, or from a donor, and transplanting it too weak areas of your jaw. As you heal, your existing bone fuses to, or around, the grafting material, helping to strengthen your jaw so that implants can be successfully placed.
Types of Bone Grafts
There are a few different types of bone grafts that may be performed. The exact type of graft that you receive is determined during your initial consultation. Aft
- Autografts. An autograft uses bone harvested from another area of your body. The benefit to this graft is that there is no risk of immune response or disease transmission. However, an additional surgical site is needed to harvest tissue.
- Allografts. An allograft uses tissue from a compatible donor, tissue that is harvested from a cadaver. The bone is screened and processed to reduce the risk of immune reaction and disease transmission. The biggest advantage of this graft is that there is no need for an additional surgical site.
- Xenografts. A xenograft is a graft that uses tissue harvested from an animal source. This bone is highly processed to reduce the risk of complications. Like an allograft, this type of graft avoids the need for an additional surgical site.
- Alloplasts. Alloplasts are bone grafts that involve the use of synthetic materials. Read more about Types of Bone Grafts.
What to Expect During a Bone Graft
A bone graft is a surgical procedure that is performed under a local anesthetic. Sedation may be provided to help alleviate anxiety, allowing you to relax. Surgery begins with incisions in the gums to expose the weak areas of the jaw. If you are receiving an autograft, an additional surgical site is opened to harvest the necessary bone mass. We then take the bone grafting material and place it in the weak areas of your jaw. Finally, your gums are sutured closed. Once you have fully healed, we can then begin the process of placing dental implants.
If you have been told that your jawbone is not strong enough to support dental implants, this does not mean that you are restricted to a bridge or dentures. With a bone graft, we can restore the strength of your jaw, making implants possible. Call Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center today at (570) 323-1900 to find out if a bone graft is right for you.