When teeth are lost, the bone that used to support them starts to melt away or resorb. Bone loss can also occur due to periodontal disease. When you lose bone, it may cause your facial features to sag, making you look older. Additionally, it can lead to issues with your remaining teeth, difficulty chewing and speaking properly, and problems with placing a dental implant. Thankfully, bone grafting can help. Dr. Harper and Dr. Hennessy use modern bone-grafting techniques to build up bone that has been lost. To learn more, schedule a visit with a Mount Washington Valley dentist at Fryeburg Dental Center. Request an appointment online or call us at (207) 935-3133.
What is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a minor surgical procedure that replaces lost bone to strengthen your jaw bone, allow for restorations like dental implants and create support for your facial features. The grafting material can come from your own body or it can be bone from a human or animal donor that has been processed in a lab. Synthetic substances can be used as well. The graft serves as a scaffold onto which the body builds new bone.
Bone grafts can help us achieve a variety of treatment goals, such as:
- Saving Teeth – Severe periodontal disease, or gum disease, can deteriorate the bone causing teeth to become loose and in danger of being lost. Bone grafting can regenerate the bone to support the teeth and help keep them in place.
- Tooth Extractions – It’s common for us to deposit bone grafting material into a tooth socket after an extraction. This ensures that if you want to replace the tooth with a dental implant at a later date, you’ll have that option.
- Dental Implants – With a dental implant, Dr. Harper or Dr. Hennessy surgically embeds a titanium post into the jawbone before attaching a lifelike dental crown. Dental implants require adequate bone volume and density. Bone grafting can regenerate lost bone to allow for successful implant placement and stable, lasting results.
Benefits of Bone Grafting
Strengthens Your Jawbone
Bone grafting helps lost bone to regenerate, which restores the strength and stability of your jaw and allows for restorative treatments.
A bone graft creates support for your facial features, preventing or reversing facial collapse. This makes you look more youthful.
Improves Oral Health
Bone grafting prevents further bone loss and helps you maintain your oral health.
What to Expect
The specifics of the bone grafting procedure will depend on the type of bone grafting technique we use. Typically, placing a bone graft only requires local anesthesia. However, we are licensed and trained to safely administer oral and IV sedation if you need it. During the procedure, Dr. Harper or Dr. Hennessy will make a small incision in the gum tissue to access the bone. They’ll add the grafting material and will often cover the graft with a collagen membrane to aid in bone repair.
You may experience some soreness after surgery. This can usually be managed by taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or pain reliever. Applying ice to the jaw in the area of the graft can also be helpful. Discomfort usually only lasts a day or two. Throughout the next several months, your body will replace the graft with its own bone, reversing your bone loss.