While bone grafting might sound like a terrifying serious medical procedure, it’s actually a relatively minor task that we do right in our office. As scary as it sounds, bone grafting is the key to bringing back a great smile and comfortable bite for many people. When you have problems with damaged jaws or missing teeth, bone grafts can be the beginning of a wide variety of helpful dental procedures. The type of bone graft we’ll do depends on the amount of damage to your teeth and jaw.
The Reasons for Bone Grafting
No matter how severe the problem, it all comes down to simple physiology. Your jawbone holds your teeth in place. The roots of your teeth are surrounded by bone. If you lose a tooth, the jawbone doesn’t have anything left to support. If this is left alone, the jawbone will begin to erode, causing a hollow divot in the bone. If we try to place an implant or bridge in this spot after the damage has been done, there’s no way for us to get it to fit correctly. By using bone grafting in our dental office to keep your jawbone at the correct height, we leave your mouth prepared for further dental work.
Simple Bone Grafts
If you lose one tooth or have one tooth pulled, your prosthodontist can preserve the area by performing a simple bone graft procedure. She’ll take demineralized, sterile human bone granules (which look something like coarse sand) and pack it into the socket immediately after the tooth has been removed. She’ll then cover the granules with a collagen membrane and put in a couple of stitches to hold it in place. Your own jawbone will combine with the bone granules to fill in the empty socket.
Medium Bone Grafts
If a tooth was lost or removed years ago, there will probably be some bone loss in the area, making it difficult for us to install implants or other forms of restoration. In this case, you’ll need a slightly more involved bone graft to fix the problem. We clean and prepare the area, then use bone graft granules to build it up to the correct height and shape. It’s likely we’ll want to use some of your own bone to help this procedure to be more successful. We’ll take the bone from a different area of your jaw, probably from the wisdom tooth area.
We won’t remove a large piece of bone for this procedure; we’ll simply shave off tiny bits and mix them together with the demineralized bone. After the jawbone is rebuilt, we’ll use the same type of collagen membrane to cover and protect the open area until it heals. Over the next few months, the graft will become a part of your jaw by integrating with the existing bone tissue.
Big Bone Grafts
In the most serious cases, patients have been missing many teeth for a long period of time. This generally causes advanced bone loss in the jaw. It can prevent dentures from fitting properly and might even wear away the jaw bone to the thickness of a pencil. In this case, you can’t wear dentures and there’s not enough bone to attach implants properly. We need to do extensive bone grafting in order to restore the missing bone, in order to improve your general quality of life.
We use a combination of sterilized, demineralized human bone and your own bone to build up the jaw bone, creating a surface high and wide enough to hold dental implants. We harvest a small block of your bone from your jaw, your hip or your tibia. We anchor it in place on your jaw using small screws and sometimes plates, then build up the surface around it using the bone granules. The entire surface is covered with a membrane and closed with a series of stitches, then left to heal for a number of months before beginning the process of creating dental implants.
Bone Grafting is Just One Service We Offer
When you’re ready to tackle those big dental procedures, only the most skilled Houston prosthodontists will do. Maple Leaf Dental can turn back time, replacing your damaged teeth with artificial ones that even your mother won’t notice. Call us at (281) 497-5558 or email us to get started. Your smile won’t wait forever!
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