Bone grafts are procedures used to restore bone in areas of the jawbone that have low bone density. Low bone density can occur as a result of one or more missing teeth, since this causes a process known as bone resorption. During bone resorption, the body takes bone mass from the jaw and distributes it elsewhere in the body. This causes the jawbone to slowly deteriorate, which can hinder the placement of dental implants or other restorations. Bone grafts place bone material from a lab or bone taken from the patient into areas of low bone density in order to grow new, healthy bone.
Did You Know?
Your jawbone needs to be stimulated by the constant force of chewing in order to maintain its bone mass. When a tooth goes missing and this force is lost, a process called bone resorption will occur and slowly cause the jawbone to deteriorate.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need a bone graft?
You may need a bone graft if you have one or more missing teeth that has been missing for six months or longer. You may also need a bone graft if you have severe gum disease and/or if you are looking to have dental implants placed. To determine if you need a bone graft, schedule a consultation with Dr. Dickey of Dickey Dental today!
What can I expect when having a bone graft at Dickey Dental?
When having a bone graft performed at Dickey Dental, you can expect a minor oral surgery with local anesthesia. During the procedure, Dr. Dickey will make a small incision in the gums to access the jawbone, then he will place the bone graft material. Areas of lost bone can be restored either using your own bone (called autogenous bone grafting) or lab-grown bone (called allograft). Once the bone material has been placed, then the gums will be sutured closed over the graft.
In some cases, a specialized bone graft known as a sinus lift may also need to be performed. This procedure entails the creation of new bone in the upper jaw where bone mass is low. This can be necessary when dental implants are being placed below the sinus cavity, or if only a small amount of bone mass exists between the upper jaw and nose. Essentially, bone is placed under the sinuses in order to “lift” the sinus cavity and allow for the safe placement of dental implants in the upper jaw.
Will I need to follow any special instructions after my appointment?
Yes. After having a bone graft, Dr. Dickey will provide you with some post op guidelines that you will need to follow. While your exact guidelines may vary depending on a variety of factors, here are a few things you can expect after bone graft surgery:
- Temporary diet restrictions (soft food diet)
- Avoid smoking/tobacco use: Smoking can complicate your treatment and damage your oral health, so it is important to quit. If you are a smoker, speak with your dentist about ways to safely reduce nicotine intake until you can quit.
- Habits to improve dental health: After the procedure, it is important to take care of your oral health. Practice proper dental hygiene at all times by brushing twice per day and flossing daily. Additionally, Dr. Dickey may also recommend prescription mouthwashes during your recovery period
- Avoid certain activities: for the first few days after your procedure, you will need to abstain from strenuous physical activity. After that, Dr. Dickey will let you know what activities to avoid.