Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee). Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patient’s own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of the defect. The skull (cranium), hip (iliac crest), and lateral knee (tibia), are common donor sites. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.
Bone Grafting Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Need Bone Grafting Before Getting Dental Implants?
Not every Riverside County patient will require bone grafting before dental implants. However, for those that do, it’s because their jawbone does not have enough density to support the implants. Dental implants work because they are surgically placed into the bone tissue. Over time, the bone solidifies around the implant, creating a stable base that won’t wiggle or pull out, even when patients are chewing and biting. In patients who do not have enough bone tissue for this process to occur, the implant may come loose and fail. If this happens, the implant simply can’t be tightened or put back in. Rather, Dr. Tsvetov will need to give the jaw time to heal and perform an entirely new procedure to try again.
To avoid this pain and frustration, bone grafting gives the jaw more tissue, providing a thicker and more stable base for the implants to be inserted in. For Riverside County patients that have just lost a tooth recently and want to get an immediate replacement, bone grafting is usually not required. For patients who lost a tooth because of gum disease or extensive tooth decay, their jaws might not be healthy enough for implants without bone grafting.
Finally, bone grafting is also essential for people who have been missing teeth for some time. The jawbone naturally degrades without the stimulation that teeth provide, and grafting is the only way to rebuild a base solid enough for implants.
How Long Does Bone Grafting Take to Heal?
Healing for bone grafting will vary, as every Riverside County patient is different. However, patients can expect a total healing time of four to six months. Many factors go into the healing time, including:
Diet, as eating healthier, more nutritious foods can speed healing time. Likewise, eating junk food can slow down healing.
Overall health, as those without preexisting conditions or other health problems, may heal faster.
Age, as those who are older, will take longer to heal than their younger counterparts.
Whether or not the patient smokes or drinks, which can drastically slow down healing.
Whether or not the bone tissue used in the procedure was taken from the patient’s body or was a synthetic substitute. In most cases, bone taken from another location in the patient’s body heals faster than synthetic bone.
The good news is that Riverside County patients will not have a lot of downtime after a bone grafting procedure. Most of the healing takes place internally as the bone grafts begin bonding to the jawbone and stimulating the production of new tissue.
The patient may need to follow a soft foods diet for a few days to give the incisions in the mouth time to heal. Additionally, there may be some bleeding and swelling around the gums for the next few days. However, as long as the patient follows the aftercare instructions provided by Dr. Tsvetov, they can optimize their healing time and work toward finally getting the dental implants of which they’ve been dreaming.