After tooth loss, the bone in your jaw begins to deteriorate. It is a natural process that occurs when the tooth root is absent. Fortunately, dental implants can simulate the function of tooth roots, preventing further bone loss. However, they do need a sufficient amount of bone volume in order to successfully integrate, providing you with stability and permanence. To restore bone volume, your periodontist will recommend a bone graft.
Who Needs Bone Grafts?
Not everyone needs grafting or augmentation. Dr. Michael Stypula recommends a bone graft in his Pittsburgh, PA practice for patients who have lost significant amounts of bone due to gum disease or tooth loss. He commonly recommends bone grafting if dental implants will be placed or if the sinus membrane needs to be lifted.
Why Are Grafts Necessary?
The implant post integrates with the bone in your jaw over time. This is what provides the security and stability of dental implants. If there is insufficient bone volume, your implants could fail.
How Is a Bone Graft Performed?
Donor tissue is most often taken from the chin, accessed through the inside of the mouth so there are no scars. If this is not possible, your periodontist may suggest donor tissue from a bone bank. The donor tissue is placed at the treatment site and attached to the existing bone using titanium screws. Over time, the new bone graft integrates with the existing bone, providing a solid foundation for your implants.
What You Can Expect from Recovery
Follow the post-surgical instructions given to you by your periodontist. There may be some discomfort and swelling in the first 24 hours. Be sure to take it easy, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a soft food diet. Dr. Stypula recommends ice packs, wrapped in a towel, at 20 minute intervals, on the first day. Most patients recovery quickly after the procedure, though the bone graft takes roughly six to nine months to integrate fully.