Bone Grafting FAQ Charlotte NC
Advancements in dental technology and techniques have made many periodontal procedures more accessible to a large number of patients. Some of these procedures are geared towards repairing damage caused by conditions such as gum disease, while others are directed towards improving and restoring your smile. One of the many periodontal related procedures offered by our professionals at Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery is bone grafting.
In order to receive dental implants, you must have a sufficient amount and density of your jawbone. In some cases, this means we will need to apply a bone graft to strengthen the area.
Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery can utilize several different types of grafting materials, so our periodontist will discuss the best option for you prior to the procedure.
What is a Bone Graft?
Bone grafting is a restorative procedure that involves strengthening and restoring your jawbone. The procedure is completed by administering an anesthetic and then making an incision in your gum line in the areas where your jaw has weakened. Our professional will then graft small fragments of bone to your jaw and close the incision site.
Bone Grafting Procedure
Most bone grafting procedures are not too long, not much longer than a couple of hours. The exact method will depend on the grafting technique chosen, but the recovery process will always be about the same — several months or longer because it can take some time for your old bone to integrate with the new.
You will first have an appointment at our office to discuss your surgery with our periodontist. It is during this appointment that you will discuss available bone graft materials and choose your preferred option. Our periodontist will also collect x-rays of your oral structure. This lets us know exactly what we are working with before the surgery takes place.
We perform a bone graft under general anesthesia, and local anesthetic can also be given to numb the surgical site. Once you are asleep, our periodontist incises the surgical site of the gums and lifts the soft tissue away from the bone cavity. In some cases, the bone may need to be restructured or moved to make extra room for the graft. The graft material is then placed in the area along with a mesh material that prevents soft tissue from growing there instead. These materials can be held with wires, screws, pins, and other tools. Once the graft is secure, our periodontist stitches the surgical incision and places bandages over the site.
Your bone graft will heal and fuse with your own bone tissue over the next several months. After that, we can place dental implants or provide other types of restorations, depending on your oral needs.
Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?
Bone grafting is needed when the bones of your jaw have lost density due to premature tooth loss or gum disease. Both of these conditions can lead to your bone being resorbed, weakening the integrity of your jaw. Approximately 25% of your bone will be resorbed within 12 months of losing a tooth prematurely, so it is important to replace your missing teeth sooner than later.
A weakened jawbone can make you more susceptible to a facial injury and can also affect the appearance of your facial features. A weakened jawbone can also prevent our team from being able to install dental implants. This is because dental implant posts are placed directly into your jawbone. Bone grafting is a way of overcoming this issue and making dental implants a reality for you.
Bone Graft FAQ
Is a Bone Graft Really Necessary?
Bone might be lost due to age or as a result of various health conditions, but one of the most common reasons is because of gum disease. This can have a major negative impact on your oral health. Without a strong jawbone, your teeth will become loose and mobile in your mouth, and can even fall out. The more teeth you lose, the faster you lose bone mass. All of these consequences are reason enough to get a bone graft, but there is one more critical reason — dental implants. You will not be eligible to get dental implants to replace your missing teeth until you have a strong enough jawbone to support them.
How Long Does it Take a Bone Graft to Heal?
The initial procedure is brief, and most patients are able to resume normal activities the same day. You will likely experience some tenderness and soreness at the incision site for a few days after the operation, but it is mild and can be minimized with anti-inflammatory medications and careful food choices.
However, it will take much longer for the bone to completely fuse with your jaw. Complete fusion will take several months and can take up to a year in some cases. Our professionals will monitor your progress with regular x-rays during the recovery process. We must wait for complete fusion before installing implants.
Does a Bone Graft Hurt?
In some cases, our periodontist will prescribe a short round of antibiotics to prevent infection following the surgery. Depending on your discomfort level in the following days, we may also prescribe pain medication. However, over-the-counter pain medication is usually sufficient to control these symptoms.
How to Learn More
Bone grafting is a highly successful and easy to complete procedure that can open up many restorative options to our patients. Bone grafting can make a major difference to your oral health, and can help repair much of the damage done by gum disease. If you have considered getting dental implants in the past but were told that you were not a good candidate, then you may benefit from a bone graft. If you would like to learn more about this procedure and start your journey to a new smile, then it is time to come see our team at Greater Charlotte Oral and Facial Surgery. You can schedule your appointment by calling us at (980) 332-7990 today.